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l~w  JL     A   J!wr  A.  v 

tsi  r 


V/J.T  JL.TJLW-'    OJOl   1   JUJLVwy  V/i 


OF    TH  E    LATE 


DONATED     NOVEMBER.      1933 




This  edition  is  largely  based  upon  the 
complete  works  of  THOMAS  JEFFERSON, 
published  under  the  auspices  of  the  JEF- 
FERSOX  MEMORIAL  SOCIETY,  that  text  hav 
ing  been  followed  in  making  the  extracts, 
and  the  publishers  gratefully  acknowledge 
the  courtesy  of  the  SOCIETY  in  permit- 
tin"  them  to  utilize  this  valuable  material. 





Lecturer  in  English,  Columbia  University 


Assistant  Professor  of  History,  University  of  Missouri 



COPYRIGHT    1905   BY 













INDEX  .                                                                                      .  310 


On  a  Juvenile  Experience 

To  John  Page 

FAIRFIELD,  December  25,  1762. 

Dear  Page:  This  very  day,  to  others  the  day  of  greatest 
mirth  and  jollity,  sees  me  overwhelmed  with  more  and 
greater  misfortunes  than  have  befallen  a  descendant  of 
Adam  for  these  thousand  years  past,  I  am  sure;  and  per 
haps,  after  excepting  Job,  since  the  creation  of  the  world. 
I  think  his  misfortunes  were  somewhat  greater  than  mine; 
for,  although  we  may  be  pretty  nearly  on  a  level  in  other 
respects,  yet,  I  thank  my  God,  I  have  the  advantage  of 
brother  Job  in  this,  that  Satan  has  not  as  yet  put  forth  his 
hand  to  load  me  with  bodily  afflictions.  You  must  know, 
dear  Page,  that  I  am  now  in  a  house  surrounded  with  ene 
mies,  who  take  counsel  together  against  my  soul;  and  when 
I  lay  me  down  to  rest,  they  say  among  themselves,  come  let 
us  destroy  him.  I  am  sure  if  there  is  such  a  thing  as  a 
Devil  in  this  world,  he  must  have  been  here  last  night  and 
have  had  some  hand  in  contriving  what  happened  to  me. 
Do  you  think  the  cursed  rats  (at  his  instigation,  I  sup 
pose)  did  not  eat  up  my  pocket-book,  which  was  in  my 
pocket,  within  a  foot  of  my  head?  And  not  contented  with 
plenty  for  the  present,  they  carried  away  my  jemmy- 
worked  silk  garters,  and  half  a  dozen  new  minuets  I  had 
just  got,  to  serve,  I  suppose,  as  provision  for  the  winter. 
But  of  this  I  should  not  have  accused  the  Devil,  (because, 



you  know  rats  will  be  rats,  and  hunger,  without  the  addi 
tion  of  his  instigations,  might  have  urged  them  to  do  this), 
if  something  worse,  and  from  a  different  quarter,  had  not 
happened.  You  know  it  rained  last  night,  or  if  you  do  not 
know  it,  I  am  sure  I  do.  When  I  went  to  bed,  I  laid  my 
watch  in  the  usual  place,  and  going  to  take  her  up  after  I 
arose  this  morning,  I  found  her  in  the  same  place,  it's  true, 
but  Quantum  mutatus  ab  illo!  all  afloat  in  water,  let  in  at 
a  leak  in  the  roof  of  the  house,  and  as  silent  and  still  as 
the  rats  that  had  eat  my  pocket-book.  Now,  you  know, 
if  chance  had  had  anything  to  do  in  this  matter,  there  were 
a  thousand  other  spots  where  it  might  have  chanced  to 
leak  as  well  as  at  this  one,  which  was  perpendicularly  over 
my  watch.  But  I'll  tell  you,  it's  my  opinion  that  the  Devil 
came  and  bored  the  hole  over  it  on  purpose.  Well,  as  I 
was  saying,  my  poor  watch  had  lost  her  speech.  I  should 
not  have  cared  much  for  this,  but  something  worse  at 
tended  it;  the  subtle  particles  of  the  water  with  which  the 
case  was  filled,  had,  by  their  penetration,  so  overcome  the 
cohesion  of  the  particles  of  the  paper,  of  which  my  dear 
picture  and  watch-paper  were  composed,  that,  in  attempt 
ing  to  take  them  out  to  dry  them,  good  God !  Mem  horret 
referre!  My  cursed  fingers  gave  them  such  a  rent,  as  I 
fear  I  never  shall  get  over.  This,  cried  I,  was  the  last 
stroke  Satan  had  in  reserve  for  me ;  he  knew  I  cared  not  for 
anything  else  he  could  do  to  me,  and  was  determined  to 
try  his  last  most  fatal  expedient.  "Multis  fortunes  vulneri- 
bus  percussus,  huic  uni  me  imparem  sensi,  et  penitus  suc- 
cubui!"  I  would  have  cried  bitterly,  but  I  thought  it  be 
neath  the  dignity  of  a  man,  and  a  man  too,  who  had  read 
rwv  OJ/TWV,  TO.  fj,fv  €<j>7jfj,iv,  TO.  8'  e.K  f<f>i)fjLiv.  However,  what 
ever  misfortunes  may  attend  the  picture  or  lover,  my  hearty 
prayers  shall  be,  that  all  the  health  and  happiness  which 
Heaven  can  send  may  be  the  portion  of  the  original,  and 



that  so  much  goodness  may  ever  meet  with  what  may  be 
most  agreeable  in  this  world,  as  I  am  sure  it  must  be  in  the 
next.  And  now,  although  the  picture  be  defaced,  there  is 
so  lively  an  image  of  her  imprinted  in  my  mind,  that  I  shall 
think  of  her  too  often,  I  fear,  for  my  peace  of  mind;  and 
too  often,  I  am  sure,  to  get  through  old  Coke  this  winter; 
for  God  knows  I  have  not  seen  him  since  I  packed  him  up 
in  my  trunk  in  Williamsburg.  Well,  Page,  I  do  wish  the 
Devil  had  old  Coke,  for  I  am  sure  I  never  was  so  tired  of 
an  old  dull  scoundrel  in  my  life.  What !  are  there  so  few 
inquietudes  tacked  to  this  momentary  life  of  ours,  that  we 
must  need  be  loading  ourselves  with  a  thousand  more?  Or, 
as  brother  Job  says,  (who,  by  the  by,  I  think  began  to 
whine  a  little  under  his  afflictions),  "Are  not  my  days  few? 
Cease  then,  that  I  may  take  comfort  a  little  before  I  go 
whence  I  shall  not  return,  even  to  the  land  of  darkness,  and 
the  shadow  of  death."  But  the  old  fellows  say  we  must 
read  to  gain  knowledge,  and  gain  knowledge  to  make  us 
happy  and  admired.  Mere  jargon!  Is  there  any  such 
thing  as  happiness  in  this  world?  No.  And  as  for  ad 
miration,  I  am  sure  the  man  who  powders  most,  perfumes 
most,  embroiders  most,  and  talks  most  nonsense,  is  most 
admired.  Though  to  be  candid,  there  are  some  who  have 
too  much  good  sense  to  esteem  such  monkey-like  animals 
as  these,  in  whose  formation,  as  the  saying  is,  the  tailors 
and  barbers  go  halves  with  God  Almighty;  and  since  these 
are  the  only  persons  whose  esteem  is  worth  a  wish,  I  do  not 
know  but  that,  upon  the  whole,  the  advice  of  these  old 
fellows  may  be  worth  following. 


On  an  ~Affair  of  the  Heart 

To  John  Page 

SHADWELL,  July  15,  1763. 

Dear  Page:  Yours  of  May  30th  came  safe  to  hand.  The 
rival  you  mentioned  I  know  not  whether  to  think  formida 
ble  or  not,  as  there  has  been  so  great  an  opening  for  him 
during  my  absence.  I  say  has  been,  because  I  expect  there 
is  one  no  longer.  Since  you  have  undertaken  to  act  as  my 
attorney,  you  advise  me  to  go  immediately  and  lay  siege 
in  form.  You  certainly  did  not  think,  at  the  time  you  wrote 
this,  of  that  paragraph  in  my  letter  wherein  I  mentioned 
to  you  my  resolution  of  going  to  Britain.  And  to  begin 
an  affair  of  that  kind  now,  and  carry  it  on  so  long  a  time 
in  form,  is  by  no  means  a  proper  plan.  No,  no,  Page; 
whatever  assurances  I  may  give  her  in  private  of  my  es 
teem  for  her,  or  whatever  assurances  I  may  ask  in  return 
from  her,  depend  on  it — they  must  be  kept  in  private.  Ne 
cessity  will  oblige  me  to  proceed  in  a  method  which  is  not 
generally  thought  fair;  that  of  treating  with  a  ward  before 
obtaining  the  approbation  of  her  guardian.  I  say  necessity 
will  oblige  me  to  it,  because  I  never  can  bear  to  remain  in 
suspense  so  long  a  time.  If  I  am  to  succeed,  the  sooner 
I  know  it,  the  less  uneasiness  I  shall  have  to  go  through. 
If  I  am  to  meet  with  a  disappointment,  the  sooner  I  know 
it,  the  more  of  life  I  shall  have  to  wear  it  off;  and  if  I  do 
meet  with  one,  I  hope  in  God,  and  verily  believe,  it  will  be 
the  last.  I  assure  you,  that  I  almost  envy  you  your  pres 
ent  freedom;  and  if  Belinda  will  not  accept  of  my  service, 
it  shall  never  be  offered  to  another.  That  she  may,  I  pray 
most  sincerely;  but  that  she  will,  she  never  gave  me  reason 
to  hope.  With  regard  to  my  not  proceeding  in  form,  I  do 



not  know  how  she  may  like  it.  I  am  afraid  not  much.  That 
her  guardians  would  not,  if  they  should  know  of  it,  is  very 
certain.  But  I  should  think  that  if  they  were  consulted 
after  I  return,  it  would  be  sufficient.  The  greatest  incon 
venience  would  be  my  not  having  the  liberty  of  visiting 
so  freely.  This  is  a  subject  worth  your  talking  over  with 
her;  and  I  wish  you  would,  and  would  transmit  to  me  your 
whole  confab  at  length.  I  should  be  scared  to  death  at 
making  her  so  unreasonable  a  proposal  as  that  of  waiting 
until  I  return  from  Britain,  unless  she  could  first  be  pre 
pared  for  it.  I  am  afraid  it  will  make  my  chance  of  suc 
ceeding  considerably  worse.  But  the  event  at  last  must  be 
this,  that  if  she  consents,  I  shall  be  happy;  if  she  does  not, 
I  must  endeavor  to  be  as  much  so  as  possible.  I  have 
thought  a  good  deal  on  your  case,  and  as  mine  may  perhaps 
be  similar,  I  must  endeavor  to  look  on  it  in  the  same  light 
in  which  I  have  often  advised  you  to  look  on  yours.  Per 
fect  happiness,  I  believe,  was  never  intended  by  the  Deity 
to  be  the  lot  of  one  of  his  creatures  in  this  world;  but  that 
he  has  very  much  put  in  our  power  the  nearness  of  our  ap 
proaches  to  it,  is  what  I  have  steadfastly  believed. 

The  most  fortunate  of  us,  in  our  journey  through  life, 
frequently  meet  with  calamities  and  misfortunes  which  may 
greatly  afflict  us ;  and,  to  fortify  our  minds  against  the 
attacks  of  these  calamities  and  misfortunes,  should  be  one 
of  the  principal  studies  and  endeavors  of  our  lives.  The 
only  method  of  doing  this  is  to  assume  a  perfect  resignation 
to  the  Divine  will,  to  consider  that  whatever  does  happen, 
must  happen;  and  that,  by  our  uneasiness,  we  cannot  pre 
vent  the  blow  before  it  does  fall,  but  we  may  add  to  its 
force  after  it  has  fallen.  These  considerations,  and  others 
such  as  these,  may  enable  us  in  some  measure  to  surmount 
the  difficulties  thrown  in  our  way ;  to  bear  up  with  a  toler 
able  degree  of  patience  under  this  burthen  of  life;  and  to 



proceed  with  a  pious  and  unshaken  resignation,  till  we  ar 
rive  at  our  journey's  end,  when  we  may  deliver  up  our  trust 
into  the  hands  of  Him  who  gave  it,  and  receive  such  reward 
as  to  him  shall  seem  proportioned  to  our  merit.  Such,  dear 
Page,  will  be  the  language  of  the  man  who  considers  his 
situation  in  this  life,  and  such  should  be  the  language  of 
every  man  who  would  wish  to  render  that  situation  as  easy 
as  the  nature  of  it  will  admit.  Few  things  will  disturb  him 
at  all:  nothing  will  disturb  him  much. 

On  Books 

To  Robert  Skiptvith 

AUGUST  3,  1771. 

We  never  reflect  whether  the  story  we  read  be  truth  or 
fiction.  If  the  painting  be  lively,  and  a  tolerable  picture 
of  nature,  we  are  thrown  into  a  reverie,  from  which  if  we 
awaken  it  is  the  fault  of  the  writer.  I  appeal  to  every 
reader  of  feeling  and  sentiment  whether  the  fictitious  mur 
der  of  Duncan  by  Macbeth  in  Shakespeare  does  not  excite 
in  him  as  great  a  horror  of  villainy,  as  the  real  one  of 
Henry  IV.  by  Ravaillac  as  related  by  Davila?  And 
whether  the  fidelity  of  Nelson  and  generosity  of  Blandford 
in  Marmontel  do  not  dilate  his  breast  and  elevate  his  sen 
timents  as  much  as  any  similar  incident  which  real  history 
can  furnish  ?  Does  he  not,  in  fact,  feel  himself  a  better  man 
while  reading  them,  and  privately  covenant  to  copy  the  fair 
example?  We  neither  know  nor  care  whether  Laurence 
Sterne  really  went  to  France,  whether  he  was  there  ac 
costed  by  the  Franciscan,  at  first  rebuked  him  unkindly, 
and  then  gave  him  a  peace-offering ;  or  whether  the  whole 
be  not  fiction.  In  either  case  we  equally  are  sorrowful  at 



the  rebuke,  and  secretly  resolve  rve  will  never  do  so;  we  are 
pleased  with  the  subsequent  atonement,  and  view  with  emu 
lation  a  soul  candidly  acknowledging  its  fault  and  making 
a  just  reparation.  Considering  history  as  a  moral  exercise, 
her  lessons  would  be  too  infrequent  if  confined  to  real  life. 
Of  those  recorded  by  historians  few  incidents  have  been 
attended  with  such  circumstances  as  to  excite  in  any  high 
degree  this  sympathetic  emotion  of  virtue.  We  are,  there 
fore,  wisely  framed  to  be  as  warmly  interested  for  a  ficti 
tious  as  for  a  real  personage.  The  field  of  imagination  is 
thus  laid  open  to  our  use  and  lessons  may  be  formed  to  il 
lustrate  and  carry  home  to  the  heart  every  moral  rule  of  life. 
Thus  a  lively  and  lasting  sense  of  filial  duty  is  more  effect 
ually  impressed  on  the  mind  of  a  son  or  daughter  by  reading 
King  Lear,  than  by  all  the  dry  volumes  of  ethics,  and  divin 
ity  that  ever  were  written. 

Jefferson's  Opinion  of  Ossian 

To  Chas.  McPherson 

ALBEMARLE,  IN  VIRGINIA,  February  25,  1778. 
Dear  Sir:  Encouraged  by  the  small  acquaintance  which 
I  had  the  pleasure  of  having  contracted  with  you  during 
your  residence  in  this  country,  I  take  the  liberty  of  making 
the  present  application  to  you.  I  understood  you  were  re 
lated  to  the  gentleman  of  your  name  (Mr.  James  McPher 
son),  to  whom  the  world  is  so  much  indebted  for  the  ele 
gant  collection,  arrangement,  and  translation  of  Ossian's 
poems.  These  pieces  have  been  and  will,  I  think,  during 
my  life,  continue  to  be  to  me  the  sources  of  daily  and  ex 
alted  pleasures.  The  tender  and  the  sublime  emotions  of 
the  mind  were  never  before  so  wrought  up  by  the  human 



hand.  I  am  not  ashamed  to  own  that  I  think  this  rude  bard 
of  the  North  the  greatest  poet  that  has  ever  existed.  Merely 
for  the  pleasure  of  reading  his  works,  I  am  become  desir 
ous  of  learning  the  language  in  which  he  sung,  and  of  pos 
sessing  his  songs  in  their  original  form.  Mr.  McPhersor, 
I  think,  informs  us  he  is  possessed  of  the  originals.  In 
deed,  a  gentleman  has  lately  told  me  he  had  seen  them  in 
print;  but  I  am  afraid  he  has  mistaken  a  specimen  from 
"Temora,"  annexed  to  some  of  the  editions  of  the  transln- 
tion,  for  the  whole  works.  If  they  are  printed,  it 
will  abridge  my  request  and  your  trouble,  to  the  send 
ing  me  a  printed  copy;  but  if  there  be  more  such, 
my  petition  is,  that  you  would  be  so  good  as  to  use  your 
interest  with  Mr.  McPherson  to  obtain  leave  to  take  a. 
manuscript  copy  of  them,  and  procure  it  to  be  done.  I 
would  choose  it  in  a  fair,  round  hand,  on  fine  paper,  with 
a  good  margin,  bound  in  parchments  as  elegantly  as 
possible,  lettered  on  the  back,  and  marbled  or  gilt  on 
the  edges  of  the  leaves.  I  would  not  regard  expense 
in  doing  this.  I  would  further  beg  the  favor  of  you 
to  give  me  a  catalogue  of  the  books  written  in  that 
language,  and  to  send  me  such  of  them  as  may  be  neces 
sary  for  learning  it.  These  will,  of  course,  include  a 
grammar  and  dictionary.  The  cost  of  these,  as  well  as  the 
copy  of  Ossian,  will  be  (for  me),  on  demand,  answered  by 
Mr.  Alexander  McCaul,  sometime  of  Virginia,  merchant, 
but  now  of  Glasgow,  or  by  your  friend  Mr.  Ninian  Minzees, 
of  Richmond,  in  Virginia,  to  whose  care  the  books  may  be 
sent.  You  can,  perhaps,  tell  me  whether  we  may  ever 
hope  to  see  any  more  of  those  Celtic  pieces  published. 
Manuscript  copies  of  any  which  are  in  print,  it  would  at 
any  time  give  me  the  greatest  happiness  to  receive.  The 
glow  of  one  warm  thought  is  to  me  worth  more  than  mone}7. 
I  hear  with  pleasure  from  your  friend  that  your  path 



through  life  is  likely  to  be  smoothed  by  success.  I  wish 
the  business  and  the  pleasures  of  your  situation  would  admit 
leisure  now  and  then  to  scribble  a  line  to  one  who  wishes 
you  every  felicity,  and  would  willingly  merit  the  appella 
tion  of,  dear  sir, 

Your  friend  and  humble  servant. 

^Attitude  toward  England 

To  John  Randolph 

PHILADELPHIA,  November   29,   1775. 

Believe  me,  dear  Sir,  there  is  not  in  the  British  empire  a 
man  who  more  cordially  loves  a  union  with  Great  Britain 
than  I  do.  But  by  the  God  that  made  me,  I  will  cease  to 
exist  before  I  yield  to  a  connection  on  such  terms  as  the 
British  Parliament  propose ;  and  in  this,  I  think  I  speak  the 
sentiments  of  America.  We  want  neither  inducement  nor 
power,  to  declare  and  assert  a  separation.  It  is  will,  alone, 
which  is  wanting,  and  that  is  growing  apace  under  the  fos 
tering  hand  of  our  King.  One  bloody  campaign  will  prob 
ably  decide,  everlastingly,  our  future  course;  and  I  am 
sorry  to  find  a  bloody  campaign  is  decided  on.  If  our 
winds  and  waters  should  not  combine  to  rescue  their  shores 
from  slavery,  and  General  Howe's  re-enforcements  should 
arrive  in  safety,  we  have  hopes  he  will  be  inspirited  to  come 
out  of  Boston  and  take  another  drubbing;  and  we  must 
drub  him  soundly,  before  the  sceptred  tyrant  will  know 
we  are  not  mere  brutes,  to  crouch  under  his  hand,  and  kiss 
the  rod  with  which  he  designs  to  scourge  us. 



Declaration  of  Independence1 

A  Declaration  by  the  Representatives  of  the  United  States 
of  America,  in  General  Congress  assembled 

JUNE  20,  1776. 

When,  in  the  course  of  human  events,  it  becomes  neces 
sary  for  one  people  to  dissolve  the  political  bands  which 
have  connected  them  witli  another,  and  to  assume  among 
the  powers  of  the  earth  the  separate  and  equal  station  to 
which  the  laws  of  nature  and  of  nature's  God  entitle  them, 
a  decent  respect  to  the  opinions  of  mankind  requires  that 
they  should  declare  the  causes  which  impel  them  to  the 

We  hold  these  truths  to  be  self-evident:  that  all  men  are 
created  equal;  that  they  are  endowed  by  their  Creator  with 
[inherent  and]  certain  inalienable  rights;  that  among  these 
are  life,  liberty,  and  the  pursuit  of  happiness ;  that  to  se 
cure  these  rights,  governments  are  instituted  among  men, 
deriving  their  just  powers  from  the  consent  of  the  gov 
erned;  that  whenever  any  form  of  government  becomes  de 
structive  of  these  ends,  it  is  the  right  of  the  people  to  alter 
or  to  abolish  it,  and  to  institute  new  government,  laying  its 
foundation  on  such  principles,  and  organizing  its  powers 
in  such  form,  as  to  them  shall  seem  most  likely  to  effect 
their  safety  and  happiness.  Prudence,  indeed,  will  dictate 
that  governments  long  established  should  not  be  changed 
for  light  and  transient  causes;  and  accordingly  all  expe 
rience  hath  shown  that  mankind  are  more  disposed  to  suffer 
while  evils  are  sufferable,  than  to  right  themselves  by  abol- 

1  The  passages  in  brackets  [  ]  were  included  in  the  original  draft,  but 
omitted  by  the  Committee  or  by  Congress  ;  those  in  italics,  not  in  the 
original,  were  inserted  by  the  same  authorities.  The  last  two  para 
graphs  are  printed  in  full  in  both  their  original  and  final  form. 



ishing  the  forms  to  which  they  are  accustomed.  But  when 
a  long  train  of  abuses  and  usurpations,  [begun  at  a  dis 
tinguished  period  and]  pursuing  invariably  the  same  object, 
evinces  a  design  to  reduce  them  under  absolute  despotism, 
it  is  their  right,  it  is  their  duty  to  throw  off  such  govern 
ment,  and  to  provide  new  guards  for  their  future  security. 
Such  has  been  the  patient  sufferance  of  these  colonies;  and 
such  is  now  the  necessity  which  constrains  them  to  [ex 
punge]  alter  their  former  systems  of  government.  The 
history  of  the  present  king  of  Great  Britain  is  a  history  of 
[unremitting]  repeated  injuries  and  usurpations,  [among 
which  appears  no  solitary  fact  to  contradict  the  uniform 
tenor  of  the  rest,  but  all  have]  all  having  in  direct  object 
the  establishment  of  an  absolute  tyranny  over  these  states. 
To  prove  this,  let  facts  be  submitted  to  a  candid  world  [for 
the  truth  of  which  we  pledge  a  faith  yet  unsullied  by  false 

He  has  refused  his  assent  to  laws  the  most  wholesome 
and  necessary  for  the  public  good. 

He  has  forbidden  his  governors  to  pass  laws  of  imme 
diate  and  pressing  importance,  unless  suspended  in  their 
operation  till  his  assent  should  be  obtained;  and,  when  so 
suspended,  he  has  utterly  neglected  to  attend  to  them. 

He  has  refused  to  pass  other  laws  for  the  accommodation 
of  large  districts  of  people,  unless  those  people  would  re 
linquish  the  right  of  representation  in  the  legislature,  a 
right  inestimable  to  them,  and  formidable  to  tyrants  only. 

He  has  called  together  legislative  bodies  at  places  un 
usual,  uncomfortable,  and  distant  from  the  depository  of 
their  public  records,  for  the  sole  purpose  of  f atiguing  them 
into  compliance  with  his  measures. 

He  has  dissolved  representative  houses  repeatedly  [and 
continually]  for  opposing  with  manly  firmness  his  invasions 
on  the  rights  of  the  people. 



He  has  refused  for  a  long  time  after  such  dissolutions  to 
cause  others  to  be  elected,  whereby  the  legislative  powers, 
incapable  of  annihilation,  have  returned  to  the  people  at 
large  for  their  exercise,  the  state  remaining,  in  the  mean 
time,  exposed  to  all  the  dangers  of  invasion  from  without 
and  convulsions  within. 

He  lias  endeavored  to  prevent  the  population  of  these 
states ;  for  that  purpose  obstructing  the  laws  for  naturaliza 
tion  of  foreigners,  refusing  to  pass  others  to  encourage 
their  migrations  hither,  and  raising  the  conditions  of  new 
appropriations  of  lands. 

He  has  [suffered]  obstructed  the  administration  of  jus 
tice  [totally  to  cease  in  some  of  these  states]  by  refusing 
his  assent  to  laws  for  establishing  judiciary  powers. 

He  has  made  [our]  judges  dependent  on  his  will  alone 
for  the  tenure  of  their  offices,  and  the  amount  and  payment 
of  their  salaries. 

He  has  erected  a  multitude  of  new  offices,  [by  a  self- 
assumed  power]  and  sent  hither  swarms  of  new  officers  to 
harass  our  people  and  eat  out  their  substance. 

He  has  kept  among  us  in  times  of  peace  standing  armies 
[and  ships  of  war]  without  the  consent  of  our  legislatures. 

He  has  affected  to  render  the  military  independent  of, 
and  superior  to,  the  civil  power. 

He  has  combined  with  others  to  subject  us  to  a  jurisdic 
tion  foreign  to  our  constitutions  and  unacknowledged  by  our 
laws,  giving  his  assent  to  their  acts  of  pretended  legislation 
for  quartering  large  bodies  of  armed  troops  among  us;  for 
protecting  them  by  a  mock  trial  from  punishment  for  any 
murders  which  they  should  commit  on  the  inhabitants  of 
these  states ;  for  cutting  off  our  trade  with  all  parts  of  the 
world;  for  imposing  taxes  on  us  without  our  consent;  for 
depriving  us  in  many  cases  of  the  benefits  of  trial  by  jury; 
for  transporting  us  beyond  seas  to  be  tried  for  pretended 



offences;  for  abolishing  the  free  system  of  English  laws  in 
a  neighboring  province,  establishing  therein  an  arbitrary 
government,  and  enlarging  its  boundaries,  so  as  to  render  it 
at  once  an  example  and  tit  instrument  for  introducing  the 
same  absolute  rule  into  these  [states]  colonies;  for  taking 
away  our  charters,  abolishing  our  most  valuable  laws,  and 
altering  fundamentally  the  forms  of  our  governments;  for 
suspending  our  own  legislatures,  and  declaring  themselves 
invested  with  power  to  legislate  for  us  in  all  cases  what 

He  has  abdicated  government  here  [withdrawing  his  gov 
ernors,  and  declaring  us  out  of  his  allegiance  and  protec 
tion]  by  declaring  us  out  of  his  protection,  and  waging  war 
against  us. 

He  has  plundered  our  seas,  ravaged  our  coasts,  burnt 
our  towns,  and  destroyed  the  lives  of  our  people. 

He  is  at  this  time  transporting  large  armies  of  foreign 
mercenaries  to  complete  the  works  of  death,  desolation,  and 
tyranny  already  begun  with  circumstances  of  cruelty  and 
perfidy  scarcely  paralleled  in  the  most  barbarous  ages,  and 
totally  unworthy  the  head  of  a  civilized  nation. 

He  has  constrained  our  fellow-citizens  taken  captive  on 
the  high  seas,  to  bear  arms  against  their  country,  to  become 
the  executioners  of  their  friends  and  brethren,  or  to  fall 
themselves  by  their  hands. 

He  has  excited  domestic  insurrection  among  us,  and  has 
endeavored  to  bring  on  the  inhabitants  of  our  frontiers,  the 
merciless  Indian  savages,  whose  known  rule  of  warfare  is 
an  undistinguished  destruction  of  all  ages,  sexes,  and  condi 
tions  [of  existence]. 

[He  has  incited  treasonable  insurrections  of  our  fellow- 
citizens,  with  the  allurements  of  forfeiture  and  confiscation 
of  our  property. 

He  has  waged  cruel  war  against  human  nature  itself,  vio- 



Inting  its  most  sacred  rights  of  life  and  liberty  in  the  per 
sons  of  a  distant  people  who  never  offended  him,  captivating 
and  carrying  them  into  slavery  in  another  hemisphere,  or  to 
incur  miserable  death  in  their  transportation  thither.  This 
piratical  warfare,  the  opprobrium  of  infidel  powers,  is  the 
warfare  of  the  Christian  king  of  Great  Britain.  Deter 
mined  to  keep  open  a  market  where  men  should  be  bought 
and  sold,  he  has  prostituted  his  negative  for  suppressing 
every  legislative  attempt  to  prohibit  or  to  restrain  this 
execrable  commerce.  And  that  this  assemblage  of  horrors 
might  want  no  fact  of  distinguished  die,  he  is  now  exciting 
those  very  people  to  rise  in  arms  among  us,  and  to  pur 
chase  that  liberty  of  which  he  has  deprived  them,  by  mur 
dering  the  people  on  whom  he  also  obtruded  them :  thus 
paying  off  former  crimes  committed  against  the  liberties  of 
one  people,  with  crimes  which  he  urges  them  to  commit 
against  the  lives  of  another.] 

In  every  stage  of  these  oppressions  we  have  petitioned 
for  redress  in  the  most  humble  terms :  our  repeated  petitions 
have  been  answered  only  by  repeated  injuries. 

A  prince  whose  character  is  thus  marked  by  every  act 
which  may  define  a  tyrant  is  unfit  to  be  the  ruler  of  a  free 
people  [who  mean  to  be  free.  Future  ages  will  scarcely 
believe  that  the  hardiness  of  one  man  adventured,  within 
the  short  compass  of  twelve  years  only,  to  lay  a  foundation 
so  broad  and  so  undisguised  for  tyranny  over  a  people  fos 
tered  and  fixed  in  principles  of  freedom]. 

Nor  have  we  been  wanting  in  attentions  to  our  British 
brethren.  We  have  warned  them  from  time  to  time  of  at 
tempts  by  their  legislature  to  extend  [a]  an  unwarrantable 
jurisdiction  over  [these  our  states]  us.  We  have  reminded 
them  of  the  circumstances  of  our  emigration  and  settlement 
here,  [no  one  of  which  could  warrant  so  strange  a  preten 
sion;  that  these  were  effected  at  the  expense  of  our  own 



blood  and  treasure,  unassisted  by  the  wealth  or  the  strength 
of  Great  Britain;  that  in  constituting  indeed  our  several 
forms  of  government,  we  had  adopted  one  common  king, 
thereby  laying  a  foundation  for  perpetual  league  and  amity 
with  them;  but  that  submission  to  their  parliament  was  no 
part  of  our  constitution,  nor  ever  in  idea,  if  history  may  be 
credited;  and,]  we  have  appealed  to  their  native  justice  and 
magnanimity  [as  well  as  to]  and  we  have  conjured  them  by 
the  ties  of  our  common  kindred  to  disavow  these  usurpations 
which  [were  likely  to]  would  inevitably  interrupt  our  con 
nection  and  correspondence.  They  too  have  been  deaf  to 
the  voice  of  justice  and  of  consanguinity,  [and  when  occa 
sions  have  been  given  them,  by  the  regular  course  of  their 
laws,  of  removing  from  their  councils  the  disturbers  of  our 
harmony,  they  have,  by  their  free  election,  re-established 
them  in  power.  At  this  very  time  too,  they  are  permitting 
their  chief  magistrate  to  send  over  not  only  soldiers  of  our 
common  blood,  but  Scotch  and  foreign  mercenaries  to  invade 
and  destroy  us.  These  facts  have  given  the  last  stab  to  ago 
nizing  affection,  and  manly  spirit  bids  us  to  renounce  for 
ever  these  unfeeling  brethren.  We  must  endeavor  to  forget 
our  former  love  for  them,  and  hold  them  as  we  hold  the  rest 
of  mankind,  enemies  in  war,  in  peace  friends.  We  might 
have  been  a  free  and  a  great  people  together;  but  a  com 
munication  of  grandeur  and  of  freedom,  it  seems,  is  below 
their  dignity.  Be  it  so,  since  they  will  have  it.  The  road 
to  happiness  and  to  glory  is  open  to  us,  too.  We  will  tread 
it  apart  from  them,  and]  rve  must  therefore  acquiesce  in 
the  necessity  which  denounces  our  [eternal]  separation 
and  hold  them  as  rve  hold  the  rest  of  mankind,  enemies  in 
war,  in  peace  friends. 

We  therefore  the  representatives  of  the  United  States  of 
America  in  General  Congress  assembled,  do  in  the  name, 



and  by  the  authority  of  the  good  people  of  these  [states  re 
ject  and  renounce  all  allegiance  and  subjection  to  the  kings 
of  Great  Britain  and  all  others  who  may  hereafter  claim 
by,  through,  or  under  them;  we  utterly  dissolve  all  political 
connection  which  may  heretofore  have  subsisted  between  us 
and  the  people  or  parliament  of  Great  Britain;  and  finally 
we  do  assert  and  declare  these  colonies  to  be  free  and  inde 
pendent  states,]  and  that  as  free  and  independent  states, 
they  have  full  power  to  levy  war,  conclude  peace,  contract 
alliances,  establish  commerce,  and  to  do  all  other  acts  and 
things  which  independent  states  may  of  right  do. 

And  for  the  support  of  this  declaration,  we  mutually 
pledge  to  each  other  our  lives,  our  fortunes,  and  our  sacred 

We,  therefore,  the  representatives  of  the  United  States  of 
America  in  General  Congress  assembled,  appealing  to  the 
supreme  judge  of  the  world  for  the  rectitude  of  our  inten 
tions,  do  in  the  name,  and  by  the  authority  of  the  good  peo 
ple  of  these  colonies,  solemnly  publish  and  declare,  that 
these  united  colonies  are,  and  of  right  ought  to  be  free  and 
independent  states;  that  they  are  absolved  from  all  alle 
giance  to  the  British  crown,  and  that  all  political  connection 
between  them  and  the  state  of  Great  Britain  is,  and  ought 
to  be,  totally  dissolved;  and  that  as  free  and  independent 
states,  they  have  full  power  to  levy  war,  conclude  peace, 
contract  alliances,  establish  commerce,  and  to  do  all  other 
acts  and  things  which  independent  states  may  of  right  do. 

And  for  the  support  of  this  declaration,  with  a  firm  re 
liance  on  the  protection  of  divine  providence,  we  mutually 
pledge  to  each  other  our  lives,  our  fortunes,  and  our  sacred 


On  Retiring  from  Public  Life 

To  Colonel  James  Monroe 

MONTICELLO,  May  20,  1782. 

Before  I  ventured  to  declare  to  my  countrymen  my  de 
termination  to  retire  from  public  employment,  I  examined 
well  my  heart  to  know  whether  it  were  thoroughly  cured 
of  every  principle  of  political  ambition,  whether  no  lurking 
particle  remained  which  might  leave  me  uneasy,  when 
reduced  within  the  limits  of  mere  private  life.  I  became  sat 
isfied  that  every  fibre  of  that  passion  was  thoroughly  eradi 
cated.  I  examined  also,  in  other  views,  my  right  to  with 
draw.  I  considered  that  I  had  been  thirteen  years  engaged 
in  public  service — that,  during  that  time,  I  had  so  totally 
abandoned  all  attention  to  my  private  affairs  as  to  permit 
them  to  run  into  great  disorder  and  ruin — that  I  had  now  a 
family  advanced  to  years  which  require  my  attention  and 
instruction — that,  to  these,  was  added  the  hopeful  offspring 
of  a  deceased  friend,  whose  memory  must  be  forever  dear 
to  me,  and  who  have  no  other  reliance  for  being  rendered 
useful  to  themselves  or  their  country — that  by  a  constant 
sacrifice  of  time,  labor,  parental  and  friendly  duties,  I  had, 
so  far  from  gaining  the  affection  of  my  countrymen,  which 
was  the  only  reward  I  ever  asked  or  could  have  felt,  even 
lost  the  small  estimation  I  had  before  possessed. 


On  'American  Genius 

From  Notes  on  Virginia 


"America  has  not  yet  produced  one  good  poet."  When 
we  shall  have  existed  as  a  people  as  long  as  the  Greeks 
did  before  they  produced  a  Homer,  the  Romans  a  Virgil, 
the  Frencli  a  Racine  and  Voltaire,  the  English  a  Shake 
speare  and  Milton,  should  this  reproach  be  still  true,  we 
will  inquire  from  what  unfriendly  causes  it  has  proceeded, 
that  the  other  countries  of  Europe  and  quarters  of  the 
earth  shall  not  have  inscribed  any  name  in  the  roll  of 
poets.  But  neither  has  America  produced  "one  able  math 
ematician,  one  man  of  genius  in  a  single  art  or  a  single 
science."  In  war  we  have  produced  a  Washington,  whose 
memory  will  be  adored  while  liberty  shall  have  votaries, 
whose  name  shall  triumph  over  time,  and  will  in  future 
ages  assume  its  just  station  among  the  most  celebrated 
worthies  of  the  world,  when  that  Avretched  philosophy 
shall  be  forgotten  which  would  have  arranged  him  among 
the  degeneracies  of  nature.  In  physics  we  have  produced 
a  Franklin,  than  whom  no  one  of  the  present  age  has  made 
more  important  discoveries,  nor  has  enriched  philosophy 
with  more,  or  more  ingenious  solutions  of  the  phenomena 
of  nature.  We  have  supposed  Mr.  Rittenhouse  second  to 
no  astronomer  living;  that  in  genius  he  must  be  the  first, 
because  he  is  self  taught.  As  an  artist  he  has  exhibited 
as  great  a  proof  of  mechanical  genius  as  the  world  has 
ever  produced.  He  has  not  indeed  made  a  world;  but 
he  has  by  imitation  approached  nearer  its  Maker  than 
any  man  who  has  lived  from  the  creation  to  this  day.  As 
in  philosophy  and  war,  so  in  government,  in  oratory,  in 



painting,  in  the  plastic  art,  we  might  show  that  America, 
though  but  a  child  of  yesterday,  has  already  given  hopeful 
proofs  of  genius,  as  well  as  of  the  nobler  kinds,  which 
arouse  the  best  feelings  of  man,  which  call  him  into  ac 
tion,  which  substantiate  his  freedom,  and  conduct  him  to 
happiness,  as  of  the  subordinate,  which  serve  to  amuse 
him  only.  We  therefore  suppose  that  this  reproach  is  as 
unjust  as  it  is  unkind;  and  that,  of  the  geniuses  which 
adorn  the  present  age,  America  contributes  its  full  share. 

On  Slavery 

Proposed  Revision  of  Constitution  of  Virginia 
From   Notes  on  Virginia 

To  establish  religious  freedom  on  the  broadest  bottom. 

To  emancipate  all  slaves  born  after  the  passing  the  act. 
The  bill  reported  by  the  revisers  does  not  itself  contain  this 
proposition ;  but  an  amendment  containing  it  was  prepared, 
to  be  offered  to  the  legislature  whenever  the  bill  should  be 
taken  up,  and  further  directing,  that  they  should  continue 
with  their  parents  to  a  certain  age,  then  to  be  brought  up, 
at  the  public  expense,  to  tillage,  arts,  or  sciences,  according 
to  their  geniuses,  till  the  females  should  be  eighteen,  and 
the  males  twenty-one  years  of  age,  when  they  should  be 
colonized  to  such  place  as  the  circumstances  of  the  time 
should  render  most  proper,  sending  them  out  with  arms, 
implements  of  household  and  of  the  handicraft  arts,  seeds, 
pairs  of  the  useful  domestic  animals,  &c.,  to  declare  them  a 
free  and  independent  people,  and  extend  to  them  our  al 
liance  and  protection,  till  they  have  acquired  strength;  and 
to  send  vessels  at  the  same  time  to  other  parts  of  the  world 
for  an  equal  number  of  white  inhabitants;  to  induce  them 
to  migrate  hither  proper  encouragements  were  to  be  pro- 



posed.  It  will  probably  be  asked,  Why  not  retain  and 
incorporate  the  blacks  into  the  State,  and  thus  save  the  ex 
pense  of  supplying  by  importation  of  white  settlers,  the  va 
cancies  they  will  leave?  Deep-rooted  prejudices  enter 
tained  by  the  whites;  ten  thousand  recollections,  by  the 
blacks,  of  the  injuries  they  have  sustained;  new  provoca 
tions  ;  the  real  distinctions  which  nature  has  made ;  and 
many  other  circumstances,  will  divide  us  into  parties,  and 
produce  convulsions,  which  will  probably  never  end  but  in 
the  extermination  of  the  one  or  the  other  race.  To  these  ob 
jections,  which  are  political,  may  be  added  others,  which 
are  physical  and  moral. 

.  .  .  They  seem  to  require  less  sleep.  A  black,  after 
hard  labor  through  the  day,  will  be  induced  by  the  slightest 
amusements  to  sit  up  till  midnight,  or  later,  though  know 
ing  he  must  be  out  with  the  first  dawn  of  the  morning. 
They  are  at  least  as  brave,  and  more  adventuresome.  But 
this  may  perhaps  proceed  from  a  want  of  forethought, 
which  prevents  their  seeing  a  danger  till  it  be  present. 
When  present,  they  do  not  go  through  it  with  more  coolness 
or  steadiness  than  the  whites.  .  .  .  Love  seems  with  them 
to  be  more  an  eager  desire,  than  a  tender,  delicate  mixt 
ure  of  sentiment  and  sensation.  Their  griefs  are  transient. 
Those  numberless  afflictions,  which  render  it  doubtful  wheth 
er  Heaven  has  given  life  to  us  in  mercy  or  in  wrath,  are  less 
felt,  and  sooner  forgotten  with  them.  In  general,  their  ex 
istence  appears  to  participate  more  of  sensation  than  re 
flection.  To  this  must  be  ascribed  their  disposition  to  sleep 
when  abstracted  from  their  diversions,  and  unemployed  in 
labor.  An  animal  whose  body  is  at  rest,  and  who  does  not 
reflect  must  be  disposed  to  sleep  of  course.  Comparing 
them  by  their  faculties  of  memory,  reason,  and  imagination, 
it  appears  to  me  that  in  memory  they  are  equal  to  the 
whites;  in  reason  much  inferior,  as  I  think  one  could  scarce- 



ly  be  found  capable  of  tracing  and  comprehending  the  in 
vestigations  of  Euclid;  and  that  in  imagination  they  are 
dull,  tasteless,  and  anomalous.  .  .  .  Never  yet 
could  I  find  that  a  black  had  uttered  a  thought  above 
the  level  of  plain  narration;  never  saw  even  an  ele 
mentary  trait  of  painting  or  sculpture.  In  music  they 
are  more  generally  gifted  than  the  whites  with  accurate 
ears  for  tune  and  time,  and  they  have  been  found  capa 
ble  of  imagining  a  small  catch.  Whether  they  will  be 
equal  to  the  composition  of  a  more  extensive  run  of  melody, 
or  of  complicated  harmony,  is  yet  to  be  proved.  Misery  is 
often  the  parent  of  the  most  affecting  touches  in  poetry. 
Among  the  blacks  is  misery  enough,  God  knows,  but  no 
poetry.  Love  is  the  peculiar  oestrum  of  the  poet.  Their 
love  is  ardent,  but  it  kindles  the  senses  only,  not  the  imagi 
nation.  Religion,  indeed,  has  produced  a  Phyllis  Whately; 
but  it  could  not  produce  a  poet. 

On  Slavery 

From  Notes  on  Virginia 

There  must  doubtless  be  an  unhappy  influence  on  the  t 
manners  of  our  people  produced  by  the  existence  of  slavery  ' 
among  us.     The  whole  commerce  between  master  and  slave  I 
is  a  perpetual  exercise  of  the  most  boisterous  passions,  the  / 
most  unremitting  despotism  on  the  one  part,  and  degrading 
submissions  on  the  other.     Our  children  see  this,  and  learn 
to  imitate  it;  for  man  is  an  imitative  animal.     This  quality 
is  the  germ  of  all  education  in  him.     From  his  cradle  to  his 
grave  he  is  learning  to  do  what  he  sees  others  do.    If  a  par 
ent  could  find  no  motive  either  in  his  philanthropy  or  his 
self-love,  for  restraining  the  intemperance  of  passion  tow 
ard  his  slave,  it  should  always  be  a  sufficient  one  that  his 



child  is  present.  But  generally  it  is  not  sufficient.  The  par 
ent  storms,  the  child  looks  on,,  catches  the  lineaments  of 
wrath,  puts  on  the  same  airs  in  the  circle  of  smaller  slaves, 
gives  a  loose  to  the  worst  of  passions,  and  thus  nursed,  edu 
cated,  and  daily  exercised  in  tyranny,  cannot  but  be  stamped 
by  it  with  odious  peculiarities.  The  man  must  be  a  prodigy 
who  can  retain  his  manners  and  morals  undepraved  by  such 
circumstances.  And  with  what  execration  should  the  states 
man  be  loaded,  who,  permitting  one-half  the  citizens  thus 
to  trample  on  the  rights  of  the  other,  transforms  those  into 
despots,  and  these  into  enemies,  destroys  the  morals  of  the 
one  part,  and  the  amor  patrice  of  the  other.  For  if  a 
slave  can  have  a  country  in  this  world,  it  must  be  any  other 
in  preference  to  that  in  which  he  is  born  to  live  and  labor 
for  another;  in  which  he  must  lock  up  the  faculties  of  his 
nature,  contribute  as  far  as  depends  on  his  individual  en 
deavors  to  the  evanishment  of  the  human  race,  or  entail  his 
own  miserable  condition  on  the  endless  generations  proceed 
ing  from  him.  With  the  morals  of  the  people,  their  indus 
try  also  is  destroyed.  For  in  a  warm  climate,  no  man  will 
labor  for  himself  who  can  make  another  labor  for  him. 
This  is  so  true,  that  of  the  proprietors  of  slaves  a  very  small 
proportion  indeed  are  ever  seen  to  labor.  And  can  the  lib 
erties  of  a  nation  be  thought  secure  when  we  have  removed 
their  only  firm  basis,  a  conviction  in  the  minds  of  the  people 
that  these  liberties  are  of  the  gift  of  God  ?  That  they  are 
not  to  be  violated  but  with  His  wrath?  Indeed,  I  tremble 
for  my  country  when  I  reflect  that  God  is  just;  that  his 
justice  cannot  sleep  forever;  that  considering  numbers,  nat 
ure  and  natural  means  only,  a  revolution  of  the  wheel  of 
fortune,  an  exchange  of  situation  is  among  possible  events ; 
that  it  may  become  probable  by  supernatural  interference ! 
The  Almighty  has  no  attribute  which  can  take  side  with  us 
in  such  a  contest.  But  it  is  impossible  to  be  temperate  and 



to  pursue  this  subject  through  the  various  considerations  of 
policy,  of  morals,  of  history  natural  and  civil.  We  must  be 
contented  to  hope  they  will  force  their  way  into  every  one's 
mind.  I  think  a  change  already  perceptible,  since  the  origin 
of  the  present  revolution.  The  spirit  of  the  master  is  abat 
ing,  that  of  the  slave  rising  from  the  dust,  his  condition 
mollifying,  the  way  I  hope  preparing,  under  the  auspices 
of  heaven,  for  a  total  emancipation,  and  that  this  is  dis 
posed,  in  the  order  of  events,  to  be  with  the  consent  of  the 
masters,  rather  than  by  their  extirpation. 

On  Religion 

From  Notes  on  Virginia 

The  legitimate  powers  of  government  extend  to  such  acts 
only  as  are  injurious  to  others.  But  it  does  me  no  injury 
for  my  neighbor  to  say  there  are  twenty  gods,  or  no  God. 
It  neither  picks  my  pocket  nor  breaks  my  leg.  If  it  be 
said,  his  testimony  in  a  court  of  justice  cannot  be  relied  on, 
reject  it  then,  and  be  the  stigma  on  him.  Constraint  may 
make  him  worse  by  making  him  a  hypocrite,  but  it  will  never 
make  him  a  truer  man.  It  may  fix  him  obstinately  in  his 
errors,  but  will  not  cure  them.  Reason  and  free  inquiry  are 
the  only  effectual  agents  against  error.  Give  a  loose  to 
them,  they  will  support  the  true  religion  by  bringing  every 
false  one  to  their  tribunal,  to  the  test  of  their  investigation. 
They  are  the  natural  enemies  of  error  and  of  error  only. 
Had  not  the  Roman  Government  permitted  free  inquiry, 
Christianity  could  never  have  been  introduced.  Had  not 
free  inquiry  been  indulged  at  the  era  of  the  Reformation, 
the  corruptions  of  Christianity  could  not  have  been  purged 
away.  If  it  be  restrained  now,  the  present  corruptions  will 



be  protected,  and  new  ones  encouraged.  Was  the  Govern 
ment  to  prescribe  to  us  our  medicine  and  diet,  our  bodies 
would  be  in  such  keeping  as  our  souls  are  now.  Thus  in 
France  the  emetic  was  once  forbidden  as  a  medicine,  and 
the  potato  as  an  article  of  food.  Government  is  just  as  in 
fallible,  too,  when  it  fixes  systems  in  physics.  Galileo  was 
sent  to  the  Inquisition  for  affirming  that  the  earth  was  a 
sphere;  the  government  had  declared  it  to  be  as  flat  as  a 
trencher,  and  Galileo  was  obliged  to  abjure  his  error.  This 
error,  however,  at  length  prevailed,  the  earth  became  a 
globe,  and  Descartes  declared  it  was  whirled  round  its  axis 
by  a  vortex.  The  government  in  which  he  lived  was  wise 
enough  to  see  that  this  was  no  question  of  civil  jurisdiction, 
or  we  should  all  have  been  involved  by  authority  in  vortices. 
In  fact,  the  vortices  have  been  exploded,  and  the  Newtonian 
principle  of  gravitation  is  now  more  firmly  established,  on 
the  basis  of  reason,  than  it  would  be  were  the  government 
to  step  in,  and  to  make  it  an  article  of  necessary  faith. 
Reason  and  experiment  have  been  indulged,  and  error  has 
fled  before  them.  It  is  error  alone  which  needs  the  support 
of  government.  Truth  can  stand  by  itself.  Subject  opin 
ion  to  coercion :  whom  will  you  make  your  inquisitors  ?  Fal 
lible  men ;  men  governed  by  bad  passions,  by  private  as  well 
as  public  reasons.  And  why  subject  it  to  coercion?  To 
produce  uniformity.  But  is  uniformity  of  opinion  desira 
ble?  No  more  than  of  face  and  stature.  Introduce  the  bed 
of  Procrustes  then,  and  as  there  is  danger  that  the  large 
men  may  beat  the  small,  make  us  all  of  a  size,  by  lopping 
the  former  and  stretching  the  latter.  Difference  of  opinion 
is  advantageous  in  religion.  The  several  sects  perform  the 
office  of  a  censor  morum  over  such  other.  Is  uniformity 
attainable?  Millions  of  innocent  men,  women,  and  chil 
dren,  since  the  introduction  of  Christianity,  have  been 
burnt,  tortured,  fined,  imprisoned;  yet  we  have  not  ad- 



vanced  one  inch  toward  uniformity.  What  has  been  the 
effect  of  coercion?  To  make  one-half  the  world  fools,  and 
the  other  half  hypocrites.  To  support  roguery  and  error 
all  over  the  earth.  Let  us  reflect  that  it  is  inhabited  by  a 
thousand  millions  of  people.  That  these  profess  probably 
a  thousand  different  systems  of  religion.  That  ours  is  but 
one  of  that  thousand.  That  if  there  be  but  one  right,  and 
ours  that  one,  we  should  wish  to  see  the  nine  hundred  and 
ninety-nine  wandering  sects  gathered  into  the  fold  of  truth. 
But  against  such  a  majority  we  cannot  effect  this  by  force. 
Reason  and  persuasion  are  the  only  practicable  instruments. 
To  make  way  for  these,  free  inquiry  must  be  indulged ;  and 
how  can  we  wish  others  to  indulge  it  while  we  refuse  it  our 
selves.  But  every  State,  says  an  inquisitor,  has  established 
some  religion.  No  two,  say  I,  have  established  the  same. 
Is  this  a  proof  of  the  infallibility  of  establishments?  Our 
sister  States  of  Pennsylvania  and  New  York,  however,  have 
long  subsisted  without  any  establishment  at  all.  The  ex 
periment  was  new  and  doubtful  when  they  made  it.  It  has 
answered  beyond  conception.  They  flourish  infinitely. 
Religion  is  well  supported ;  of  various  kinds,  indeed,  but  all 
good  enough;  all  sufficient  to  preserve  peace  and  order;  or 
if  a  sect  arises,  whose  tenets  should  subvert  morals,  good 
sense  has  fair  play,  and  reasons  and  laughs  it  out  of  doors, 
without  suffering  the  State  to  be  troubled  with  it.  They 
do  not  hang  more  malefactors  than  we  do.  They  are  not 
more  disturbed  with  religious  dissensions.  On  the  contrary, 
their  harmony  is  unparalleled,  and  can  be  ascribed  to  noth 
ing  but  their  unbounded  tolerance,  because  there  is  no  other 
circumstance  in  which  they  differ  from  every  nation  on 
earth.  They  have  made  the  happy  discovery,  that  the  way 
to  silence  religious  disputes,  is  to  take  no  notice  of  them. 



On  Education 

To  Martha  Jefferson 

ANNAPOLIS,  November  28,  1783. 

Dear  Patsy:  After  four  days'  journey,  I  arrived  here 
without  any  accident,  and  in  as  good  health  as  when  I 
left  Philadelphia.  The  conviction  that  you  would  be  more 
improved  in  the  situation  I  have  placed  you  than  if  still 
with  me,  has  solaced  me  on  my  parting  with  you,  which  my 
love  for  you  has  rendered  a  difficult  thing.  The  acquire 
ments  which  I  hope  you  will  make  under  the  tutors  I  have 
provided  for  you  will  render  you  more  worthy  of  my  love; 
and  if  they  cannot  increase  it,  they  will  prevent  its  diminu 
tion.  Consider  the  good  lady  who  has  taken  you  under  her 
roof,  who  has  undertaken  to  see  that  you  perform  all  your 
exercises,  and  to  admonish  you  in  all  those  wanderings 
from  what  is  right  or  what  is  clever,  to  which  your  inexpe 
rience  would  expose  you:  consider  her,  I  say,  as  your 
mother,  as  the  only  person  to  whom,  since  the  loss  with 
which  Heaven  has  pleased  to  afflict  you,  you  can  now  look 
up ;  and  that  her  displeasure  or  disapprobation,  on  any  occa 
sion,  will  be  an  immense  misfortune,  which  should  you  be  so 
unhappy  as  to  incur  by  any  unguarded  act,  think  no  con 
cession  too  much  to  regain  her  good-will.  With  respect  to 
the  distribution  of  your  time,  the  following  is  what  I  should 
approve : 

From  8  to  10,  practise  music. 

From  10  to  1,  dance  one  day  and  draw  another. 

From  1  to  2,  draw  on  the  day  you  dance,  and  write  a 
letter  next  day. 

From  3  to  4,  read  French. 

From  4  to  5,  exercise  yourself  in  music. 



From  5  till  bedtime,  read  English,  write,  etc. 

Communicate  this  plan  to  Mrs.  Hopkinson,  and  if  she 
approves  of  it,  pursue  it.  As  long  as  Mrs.  Trist  remains  in 
Philadelphia,  cultivate  her  affection.  She  has  been  a  valua 
ble  friend  to  you,  and  her  good  sense  and  good  heart  make 
her  valued  by  all  who  know  her,  and  by  nobody  on  earth 
more  than  me.  I  expect  you  will  write  me  by  every  post. 
Inform  me  what  books  you  read,  what  tunes  you  learn,  and 
enclose  me  your  best  copy  of  every  lesson  in  drawing. 
Write  also  one  letter  a  week  either  to  your  Aunt  Eppes, 
your  Aunt  Skipwith,  your  Aunt  Carr,  or  the  little  lady  from 
whom  I  now  enclose  a  letter,  and  always  put  the  letter 
you  so  write  under  cover,  to  me.  Take  care  that  you  never 
spell  a  word  wrong.  Always  before  you  write  a  word, 
consider  how  it  is  spelled,  and,  if  you  do  not  remember  it, 
turn  to  a  dictionary.  It  produces  great  praise  to  a  lady  to 
spell  well.  I  have  placed  my  happiness  on  seeing  you 
good  and  accomplished;  and  no  distress  this  world  can  now 
bring  on  me  would  equal  that  of  your  disappointing  my 
hopes.  If  you  love  me,  then  strive  to  be  good  under  every 
situation  and  to  all  living  creatures,  and  to  acquire  those 
accomplishments  which  I  have  put  in  your  power,  and  which 
will  go  far  toward  insuring  you  the  warmest  love  of  your 
affectionate  father. 

P.  S. — Keep  my  letters  and  read  them  at  times,  that  you 
may  always  have  present  in  your  mind  those  things  which 
will  endear  you  to  me. 


On  Expenses  in  Paris 

PARIS,  June  17,  1785. 

I  thank  you  for  your  attention  to  my  outfit.  For  the  ar 
ticles  of  household  furniture,  clothes,  and  a  carriage,  I  have 
already  paid  twenty-eight  thousand  livres,  and  have  still 
more  to  pay.  For  the  greatest  part  of  this,  I  have  been 
obliged  to  anticipate  my  salary,  from  which,  however,  I 
shall  never  be  able  to  repay  it.  I  find,  that  by  a  rigid  econ 
omy,  bordering,  however,  on  meanness,  I  can  save  perhaps 
five  hundred  livres  a  month,  at  least  in  the  summer.  The 
residue  goes  for  expenses  so  much  of  course  and  of  neces 
sity,  that  I  cannot  avoid  them  without  abandoning  all  re 
spect  to  my  public  character.  Yet  I  will  pray  you  to  touch 
this  string,  which  I  know  to  be  a  tender  one  with  Congress, 
with  the  utmost  delicacy.  I  had  rather  be  ruined  in  my 
fortune  than  in  their  esteem.  If  they  allow  me  half  a  year's 
salary  as  an  outfit,  I  can  get  through  my  debts  in  time.  If 
they  raise  the  salary  to  what  it  was,  or  even  pay  our  house 
rent  and  taxes,  I  can  live  with  more  decency. 

On  the  Screw  Propeller 

To  Dr.  Styles 

PARIS,  July  17,  1785. 

A  man  in  this  city  has  invented  a  method  of  moving  a 
vessel  on  the  water,  by  a  machine  worked  within  the  vessel. 
I  went  to  see  it.  He  did  not  know  himself  the  principle  of 
his  own  invention.  It  is  a  screw  with  a  very  broad  thin 



worm,  or  rather  it  is  a  thin  plate  with  its  edge  applied  spi 
rally  round  an  axis.  This  being  turned,  operates  on  the  air, 
as  a  screw  does,  and  may  be  literally  said  to  screw  the  ves 
sel  along;  the  thinness  of  the  medium,  and  its  want  of  re 
sistance,  occasion  a  loss  of  much  of  the  force.  The  screw, 
I  think,  would  be  more  effectual  if  placed  below  the  surface 
of  the  water.  I  very  much  suspect  that  a  countryman  of 
ours,  Mr.  Bushnel,  of  Connecticut,  is  entitled  to  the  merit 
of  a  prior  discovery  of  this  use  of  the  screw.  I  remember 
to  have  heard  of  his  submarine  navigation  during  the  war, 
and,  from  what  Colonel  Humphreys  now  tells  me,  I  conject 
ure  that  the  screw  was  the  power  he  used.  He  joined  to 
this  a  machine  for  exploding  under  water  at  a  given  mo 
ment.  If  it  were  not  too  great  a  liberty  for  a  stranger  to 
take,  I  would  ask  from  him  a  narration  of  his  actual  experi 
ments,  with  or  without  a  communication  of  his  principle, 
as  he  should  choose.  If  he  thought  proper  to  communi 
cate  it,  I  would  engage  never  to  disclose  it,  unless  I  could 
find  an  opportunity  of  doing  it  for  his  benefit. 

On  Slavery 

To  Dr.  Price 

PARIS,  August  7,  1785. 

In  Maryland,  I  do  not  find  such  a  disposition  to  begin 
the  redress  of  this  enormity  [slavery]  as  in  Virginia.  This 
is  the  next  State  to  which  we  may  turn  our  eyes  for  the  in 
teresting  spectacle  of  justice,  in  conflict  with  avarice  and 
oppression;  a  conflict  wherein  the  sacred  side  is  gaining 
daily  recruits,  from  the  influx  into  office  of  young  men 
grown,  and  growing  up.  These  have  sucked  in  the  princi- 



pies  of  liberty,  as  it  were,  with  their  mother's  milk;  and  it 
is  to  them  I  look  with  anxiety  to  turn  the  fate  of  this  ques 

Letter  of  Advice 

To  Peter  Carr 

PARIS,  August  19,  1785. 

Make  these,  then,  your  first  object.  Give  up  money, 
give  up  fame,  give  up  science,  give  the  earth  itself  and  all 
it  contains,  rather  than  do  an  immoral  act.  And  never  sup 
pose,  that  in  any  possible  situation,  or  under  any  circum 
stances,  it  is  best  for  you  to  do  a  dishonorable  thing,  how 
ever  slightly  so  it  may  appear  to  you.  Whenever  you  are 
to  do  a  thing,  though  it  can  never  be  known  but  to  yourself, 
ask  yourself  how  you  would  act  were  all  the  world  looking 
at  you,  and  act  accordingly.  Encourage  all  your  virtuous 
dispositions,  and  exercise  them  whenever  an  opportunity 
arises,  being  assured  that  they  will  gain  strength  by  exer 
cise,  as  a  limb  of  the  body  does,  and  that  exercise  will  make 
them  habitual.  From  the  practice  of  the  purest  virtue,  you 
may  be  assured  you  will  derive  the  most  sublime  comforts 
in  every  moment  of  life,  and  in  the  moment  of  death.  If 
ever  you  find  yourself  environed  with  difficulties  and  per 
plexing  circumstances,  out  of  which  you  are  at  a  loss  how 
to  extricate  yourself,  do  what  is  right,  and  be  assured  that 
that  will  extricate  you  the  best  out  of  the  worst  situations. 
Though  you  cannot  see,  when  you  take  one  step,  what  will 
be  the  next,  yet  follow  truth,  justice,  and  plain  dealing,  and 
never  fear  their  leading  you  out  of  the  labyrinth,  in  the 
easiest  manner  possible.  The  knot  which  you  thought  a 
Gordian  one,  will  untie  itself  before  you.  Nothing  is  so 



mistaken  as  the  supposition,  that  a  person  is  to  extricate 
himself  from  a  difficulty,  by  intrigue,  by  chicanery,  by  dis 
simulation,  by  trimming,  by  an  untruthj  by  an  injustice. 
This  increases  the  difficulties  tenfold;  and  those,  who  pur 
sue  these  methods,  get  themselves  so  involved  at  length, 
that  they  can  turn  no  way  but  their  infamy  becomes  more 
exposed.  It  is  of  great  importance  to  set  a  resolution,  not 
to  be  shaken,  never  to  tell  an  untruth.  There  is  no  vice  so 
mean,  so  pitiful,  so  contemptible;  and  he  who  permits  him 
self  to  tell  a  lie  once,  finds  it  much  easier  to  do  it  a  second 
and  third  time,  till  at  length  it  becomes  habitual;  he  tells 
lies  without  attending  to  it,  and  truths  without  the  world's 
believing  him.  This  falsehood  of  the  tongue  leads  to  that 
of  the  heart,  and  in  time  depraves  all  its  good  dispositions. 
An  honest  heart  being  the  first  blessing,  a  knowing  head 
is  the  second.  It  is  time  for  you  now  to  begin  to  be  choice 
in  your  reading;  to  begin  to  pursue  a  regular  course  in  it; 
and  not  to  suffer  yourself  to  be  turned  to  the  right  or  left 
by  reading  anything  out  of  that  course.  I  have  long  ago 
digested  a  plan  for  you,  suited  to  the  circumstances  in 
which  you  will  be  placed.  This  I  will  detail  to  you,  from 
time  to  time,  as  you  advance.  For  the  present,  I  advise  you 
to  begin  a  course  of  ancient  history,  reading  everything  in 
the  original  and  not  in  translations.  First  read  Goldsmith's 
history  of  Greece.  This  will  give  you  a  digested  view  of 
that  field.  Then  take  up  ancient  history  in  the  detail,  read 
ing  the  following  books,  in  the  following  order:  Herodo 
tus,  Thucydides,  Xenophontis  Anabasis,  Arrian,  Quintus 
Curtius,  Diodorus  Siculus,  Justin.  This  shall  form  the  first 
stage  of  your  historical  reading,  and  is  all  I  need  mention 
to  you  now.  The  next  will  be  of  Roman  history.  From 
that,  we  will  come  down  to  modern  history.  In  Greek  and 
Latin  poetry,  you  have  read  or  will  read  at  school,  Virgil, 
Terence,  Horace,  Anacreon,  Theocritus,  Homer,  Euripides, 



Sophocles.  Read  also  Milton's  "Paradise  Lost,"  Shake 
speare,  Ossian,  Pope's  and  Swift's  works,  in  order  to  form 
your  style  in  your  own  language.  In  morality,  read  Epicte- 
tus,  Xenophontis  Memorabilia,  Plato's  Socratic  dialogues, 
Cicero's  philosophies,  Antoninus,  and  Seneca.  In  order  to 
assure  a  certain  progress  in  this  reading,  consider  what 
hours  you  have  free  from  the  school  and  the  exercises  of  the 
school.  Give  about  two  of  them,  every  day,  to  exercise ;  for 
health  must  not  be  sacrificed  to  learning.  A  strong  body 
makes  the  mind  strong.  As  to  the  species  of  exercise,  I 
advise  the  gun.  While  this  gives  a  moderate  exercise  to  the 
body,  it  gives  boldness,  enterprise,  and  independence  to  the 
mind.  Games  played  with  the  ball,  and  others  of  that 
nature,  are  too  violent  for  the  body,  and  stamp  no  character 
on  the  mind.  Let  your  gun,  therefore,  be  the  constant  com 
panion  of  your  walks.  Never  think  of  taking  a  book  with 
you.  The  object  of  walking  is  to  relax  the  mind.  You 
should  therefore  not  permit  yourself  even  to  think  while 
you  walk;  but  divert  yourself  by  the  objects  surrounding 
you.  Walking  is  the  best  possible  exercise.  Habituate 
yourself  to  walk  very  far.  The  Europeans  value  themselves 
on  having  subdued  the  horse  to  the  uses  of  man;  but  I 
doubt  whether  we  have  not  lost  more  than  we  have  gained 
by  the  use,  of  this  animal.  No  one  has  occasioned  so  much 
the  degeneracy  of  the  human  body.  An  Indian  goes  on  foot 
nearly  as  far  in  a  day,  for  a  long  journey,  as  an  enfeebled 
white  does  on  his  horse;  and  he  will  tire  the  best  horses. 
There  is  no  habit  you  will  value  so  much  as  that  of  walking 
far  without  fatigue.  I  would  advise  you  to  take  your  exer 
cise  in  the  afternoon,  not  because  it  is  the  best  time  for  ex 
ercise,  for  certainly  it  is  not,  but  because  it  is  the  best  time 
to  spare  from  your  studies;  and  habit  will  soon  reconcile 
it  to  health,  and  render  it  nearly  as  useful  as  if  you  gave  to 
that  the  more  precious  hours  of  the  day.  A  little  walk  of 



half  an  hour,  in  the  morning,  when  you  first  rise,  is  ad 
visable  also.  It  shakes  off  sleep,  and  produces  other  good 
effects  in  the  animal  economy.  Rise  at  a  fixed  and  an  early 
hour,  and  go  to  bed  at  a  fixed  and  early  hour  also.  Sitting 
up  late  at  night  is  injurious  to  the  health,  and  not  useful  to 
the  mind.  Having  ascribed  proper  hours  to  exercise,  divide 
what  remain  (I  mean  of  your  vacant  hours)  into  three  por 
tions.  Give  the  principal  to  History,  the  other  two,  which 
should  be  shorter,  to  Philosophy  and  Poetry.  Write  to  me 
once  every  month  or  two,  and  let  me  know  the  progress  you 
make.  Tell  me  in  what  manner  you  employ  every  hour  in 
the  day.  The  plan  I  have  proposed  for  you  is  adapted  to 
your  present  situation  only.  When  that  is  changed,  I  shall 
propose  a  corresponding  change  of  plan.  I  have  ordered 
the  following  books  to  be  sent  to  you  from  London,  to  the 
care  of  Mr.  Madison:  Herodotus,  Thucydides,  Xenophon's 
Hellenics,  Anabasis,  and  Memorabilia,  Cicero's  works, 
Baretti's  Spanish  and  English  Dictionary,  Martin's  Phil 
osophical  Grammar,  and  Martin's  Philosophia  Britannica. 
I  will  send  you  the  following  from  hence:  Bezout's  Mathe 
matics,  De  la  Lande's  Astronomy,  Muschenbrock's  Physics, 
Quintus  Curtius,  Justin,  a  Spanish  Grammar,  and  some 
Spanish  books.  You  will  observe  that  Martin,  Bezout, 
De  la  Lande,  and  Muschenbrock  are  not  in  the  preceding 
plan.  They  are  not  to  be  opened  till  you  go  to  the  Univer 
sity.  You  are  now,  I  expect,  learning  French.  You  must 
push  this ;  because  the  books  which  will  be  put  into  your 
hands  when  you  advance  into  Mathematics,  Natural  philoso 
phy,  Natural  history,  etc.,  will  be  mostly  French,  these 
sciences  being  better  treated  by  the  French  than  the 
English  writers.  Our  future  connection  with  Spain  renders 
that  the  most  necessary  of  the  modern  languages,  after  the 
French.  When  you  become  a  public  man,  you  may  have  oc 
casion  for  it,  and  the  circumstance  of  your  possessing  that 



language,  may  give  you  a  preference  over  other  candidates. 
I  have  nothing  further  to  add  for  the  present,  but  husband 
well  your  time,  cherish  your  instructors,  strive  to  make 
everybody  your  friend;  and  be  assured  that  nothing  will  be 
so  pleasing  as  your  success  to,  Dear  Peter, 

Yours  affectionately. 

On  Superiority  of  Agriculture  to  Commerce 

To  John  Jay 


PARIS,  August  23,  1785. 

The  present  is  occasioned  by  the  question  proposed  in 
yours  of  June  the  14th:  "Whether  it  would  be  useful  to  us, 
to  carry  all  our  own  productions,  or  none?" 

Were  we  perfectly  free  to  decide  this  question,  I  should 
reason  as  follows:  We  have  now  lands  enough  to  employ 
an  infinite  number  of  people  in  their  cultivation.  Cultiva 
tors  of  the  earth  are  the  most  valuable  citizens.  They  are 
the  most  vigorous,  the  most  independent,  the  most  virtuous, 
and  they  are  tied  to  their  country,  and  wedded  to  its  liberty 
and  interests,  by  the  most  lasting  bonds.  As  long,  there 
fore,  as  they  can  find  employment  in  this  line,  I  would  not 
convert  them  into  mariners,  artisans,  or  anything  else.  But 
our  citizens  will  find  employment  in  this  line,  till  their  num 
bers,  and  of  course  their  productions,  become  too  great  for 
the  demand,  both  internal  and  foreign.  This  is  not  the  case 
as  yet,  and  probably  will  not  be  for  a  considerable  time.  As 
soon  as  it  is,  the  surplus  of  hands  must  be  turned  to  some 
thing  else.  I  should  then,  perhaps,  wish  to  turn  them  to 
the  sea  in  preference  to  manufactures ;  because,  comparing 



the  characters  of  the  two  classes,  I  find  the  former  the  most 
valuable  citizens.  '  I  consider  the  class  of  artificers  as  the 
panders  of  vice,  and  the  instruments  by  which  the  liber 
ties  of  a  country  are  generally  overturned.  \  However,  we 
are  not  free  to  decide  this  question  on  principles  of  theory 
only.  Our  people  are  decided  in  the  opinion  that  it  is  nec 
essary  for  us  to  take  a  share  in  the  occupation  of  the  ocean, 
and  their  established  habits  induce  them  to  require  that  the 
sea  be  kept  open  to  them,  and  that  that  line  of  policy  be 
pursued,  which  will  render  the  use  of  that  element  to  them 
as  great  as  possible.  I  think  it  a  duty  in  those  intrusted 
with  the  administration  of  their  affairs,  to  conform  them 
selves  to  the  decided  choice  of  their  constituents ;  and  that, 
therefore,  we  should,  in  every  instance,  preserve  an  equality 
of  right  to  them  in  the  transportation  of  commodities,  in  the 
right  of  fishing,  and  in  the  other  uses  of  the  sea. 

But  what  will  be  the  consequence?  Frequent  wars  with 
out  a  doubt.  Their  property  will  be  violated  on  the  sea, 
and  in  foreign  ports,  their  persons  will  be  insulted,  impris 
oned,  etc.,  for  pretended  debts,  contracts,  crimes,  contra 
band,  etc.,  etc.  These  insults  must  be  resented,  even  if  we 
had  no  feelings,  yet  to  prevent  their  eternal  repetition;  or, 
in  other  words,  our  commerce  on  the  ocean  and  in  other 
countries,  must  be  paid  for  by  frequent  war.  The  justest 
dispositions  possible  in  ourselves,  will  not  secure  us  against 
it.  It  would  be  necessary  that  all  other  nations  were  just 
also.  Justice  indeed,  on  our  part,  will  save  us  from  those 
wars  which  would  have  been  produced  by  a  contrary  dis 
position.  But  how  can  we  prevent  those  produced  by  the 
wrongs  of  other  nations?  By  putting  ourselves  in  a  con 
dition  to  punish  them.  Weakness  provokes  insult  and  in 
jury,  while  a  condition  to  punish,  often  prevents  them. 
This  reasoning  leads  to  the  necessity  of  some  naval  force; 
that  being  the  only  weapon  by  which  we  can  reach  an 



enemy.  I  think  it  to  our  interest  to  punish  the  first  insult, 
because  an  insult  unpunished  is  the  parent  of  many  others. 
We  are  not,  at  this  moment,  in  a  condition  to  do  it,  but  we 
should  put  ourselves  into  it,  as  soon  as  possible.  If  a  war 
with  England  should  take  place,  it  seems  to  me  that  the 
first  thing  necessary  would  be  a  resolution  to  abandon  the 
carrying  trade,  because  we  cannot  protect  it.  Foreign  na 
tions  must,  in  that  case,  be  invited  to  bring  us  what  we 
want,  and  to  take  our  productions  in  their  own  bottoms. 
This  alone  could  prevent  the  loss  of  those  productions  to 
us,  and  the  acquisition  of  them  to  our  enemy.  Our  seamen 
might  be  employed  in  depredations  on  their  trade.  But 
how  dreadfully  we  shall  suffer  on  our  coasts,  if  we  have 
no  force  on  the  water,  former  experience  has  taught  us. 
Indeed,  I  look  forward  with  horror  to  the  very  possible 
case  of  war  with  a  European  power,  and  think  there  is  no 
protection  against  them,  but  from  the  possession  of  some 
force  on  the  sea.  Our  vicinity  to  their  West  India  posses 
sions,  and  to  the  fisheries,  is  a  bridle  which  a  small  naval 
force,  on  our  part,  would  hold  in  the  mouths  of  the  most 
powerful  of  these  countries.  I  hope  our  land  office  will 
rid  us  of  our  debts,  and  that  our  first  attention  then,  will 
be,  to  the  beginning,  a  naval  force  of  some  sort.  This 
alone  can  countenance  our  people  as  carriers  on  the  water, 
and  I  suppose  them  to  be  determined  to  continue  such. 

On  the  Superiority  of  the  United  States  to 

To  Mr.  Bellini 

PARIS,  September  30,   1785. 

Behold  me  at  length  on  the  vaunted  scene  of  Europe !     It 
is  not  necessary  for  your  information,  that  I  should  enter 



into  details  concerning  it.  But  you  are,  perhaps,  curious 
to  know  how  this  new  scene  has  struck  a  savage  of  the 
mountains  of  America.  Not  advantageously,  I  assure  you. 
I  find  the  general  fate  of  humanity  here  most  deplorable. 
The  truth  of  Voltaire's  observation,  offers  itself  perpet 
ually,  that  every  man  here  must  be  either  the  hammer  or 
the  anvil.  It  is  a  true  picture  of  that  country  to  which 
they  say  we  shall  pass  hereafter,  and  where  we  are  to  see 
God  and  his  angels  in  splendor,  and  crowds  of  the  damned 
trampled  under  their  feet.  While  the  great  mass  of  the  peo 
ple  are  thus  suffering  under  physical  and  moral  oppression, 
I  have  endeavored  to  examine  more  nearly  the  condition 
of  the  great,  to  appreciate  the  true  value  of  the  circum 
stances  in  their  situation,  which  dazzle  the  bulk  of  spec 
tators,  and,  especially,  to  compare  it  with  that  degree  of 
happiness  which  is  enjoyed  in  America,  by  every  class  of 
people.  Intrigues  of  love  occupy  the  younger,  and  those 
of  ambition,  the  elder  part  of  the  great.  Conjugal  love 
having  no  existence  among  them,  domestic  happiness,  of 
which  that  is  the  basis,  is  utterly  unknown.  In  lieu  of 
this,  are  substituted  pursuits  which  nourish  and  invigorate 
all  our  bad  passions,  and  which  offer  only  moments  of 
ecstasy,  amid  days  and  months  of  restlessness  and  tor 
ment.  Much,  very  much  inferior,  this,  to  the  tranquil,  per 
manent  felicity  with  which  domestic  society  in  America 
blesses  most  of  its  inhabitants ;  leaving  them  to  follow  stead 
ily  those  pursuits  which  health  and  reason  approve,  and 
rendering  truly  delicious  the  intervals  of  those  pursuits. 

In  science,  the  mass  of  the  people  are  two  centuries  be 
hind  ours;  their  literati,  half  a  dozen  years  before  us. 
Books,  really  good,  acquire  just  reputation  in  that  time, 
and  so  become  known  to  us,  and  communicate  to  us  all  their 
advances  in  knowledge.  Is  not  this  delay  compensated,  by 
our  being  placed  out  of  the  reach  of  that  swarm  of  nonsen- 



sical  publications  which  issues  daily  from  a  thousand 
presses,  and  perishes  almost  in  issuing?  With  respect  to 
what  are  termed  polite  manners,  without  sacrificing  too 
much  the  sincerity  of  language,  I  would  wish  my  country 
men  to  adopt  just  so  much  of  European  politeness,  as  to  be 
ready  to  make  all  those  little  sacrifices  of  self,  which  really 
render  European  manners  amiable,  and  relieve  society  from 
the  disagreeable  scenes  to  which  rudeness  often  subjects  it. 
Here,  it  seems  that  a  man  might  pass  a  life  without  encoun 
tering  a  single  rudeness.  In  the  pleasures  of  the  table, 
they  are  far  before  us,  because,  with  good  taste  they  unite 
temperance.  They  do  not  terminate  the  most  sociable  meals 
by  transforming  themselves  into  brutes.  I  have  never  yet 
seen  a  man  drunk  in  France,  even  among  the  lowest  of  the 
people.  Were  I  to  proceed  to  tell  you  how  much  I  enjoy 
their  architecture,  sculpture,  painting,  music,  I  should  want 
words.  It  is  in  these  arts  they  shine.  The  last  of  them, 
particularly,  is  an  enjoyment,  the  deprivation  of  which,  with 
us,  cannot  be  calculated.  I  am  almost  ready  to  say,  it  is  the 
only  thing  which  from  my  heart  I  envy  them,  and  which, 
in  spite  of  all  the  authority  of  the  Decalogue,  I  do  covet. 
But  I  am  running  on  in  an  estimate  of  things  infinitely 
better  known  to  you  than  to  me,  and  which  will  only  serve 
to  convince  you,  that  I  have  brought  with  me  all  the  preju 
dices  of  country,  habit,  and  age.  But  whatever  I  may  al 
low  to  be  charged  to  me  as  prejudice,  in  every  other  in 
stance,  I  have  one  sentiment,  at  least,  founded  on  reality: 
it  is  that  of  the  perfect  esteem  which  your  merit  and  that 
of  Mrs.  Bellini  have  produced,  and  which  will  forever  en 
able  me  to  assure  you  of  the  sincere  regard  with  which  I 
am,  dear  sir,  your  friend  and  servant. 

!  I 


On  Education 

To  J.  Bannister,  Jr. 

PARIS,  October  15,  1785. 

Let  us  view  the  disadvantages  of  sending  a  youth  to  Eu 
rope.  To  enumerate  them  all,  would  require  a  volume.  I 
will  select  a  few.  If  he  goes  to  England,  he  learns  drink 
ing,  horse-racing,  and  boxing.  These  are  the  peculiarities 
of  English  education.  The  following  circumstances  are 
common  to  education  in  that,  and  the  other  countries  of  Eu 
rope.  He  acquires  a  fondness  for  European  luxury  and 
dissipation,  and  a  contempt  for  the  simplicity  of  his  own 
country;  he  is  fascinated  with  the  privileges  of  the  Euro 
pean  aristocrats,  and  sees,  with  abhorrence,  the  lovely  equal 
ity  which  the  poor  enjoy  with  the  rich,  in  his  own  country; 
he  contracts  a  partiality  for  aristocracy  or  monarchy;  he 
forms  foreign  friendships  which  will  never  be  useful  to 
him,  and  loses  the  seasons  of  life  for  forming,  in  his  own 
country,  those  friendships  which,  of  all  others,  are  the  most 
faithful  and  permanent;  he  is  led,  by  the  strongest  of  all 
the  human  passions,  into  a  spirit  for  female  intrigue,  de 
structive  of  his  own  and  others'  happiness,  and  learns  to 
consider  fidelity  to  the  marriage-bed  as  an  ungentlemanly 
practice,  and  inconsistent  with  happiness ;  he  recollects  the 
voluptuary  dress  and  arts  of  the  European  women,  and 
pities  and  despises  the  chaste  affections  and  simplicity  of 
those  of  his  own  country;  he  retains,  through  life,  a  fond 
recollection,  and  a  hankering  after  those  places,  which  were 
the  scenes  of  his  first  pleasures  and  of  his  first  connections ; 
he  returns  to  his  own  country,  a  foreigner,  unacquainted 
with  the  practices  of  domestic  economy,  necessary  to  pre 
serve  him  from  ruin,  speaking  and  writing  his  native  tongue 



as  a  foreigner,  and  therefore  unqualified  to  obtain  those  dis 
tinctions,  which  eloquence  of  the  pen  and  tongue  insures 
in  a  free  country;  for  I  would  observe  to  you,  that  what  is 
called  style  in  writing  or  speaking  is  formed  very  early  in 
life,  while  the  imagination  is  warm,  and  impressions  are 
permanent.  I  am  of  opinion,  that  there  never  was  an  in 
stance  of  a  man's  writing  or  speaking  his  native  tongue 
with  elegance,  who  passed  from  fifteen  to  twenty  years  of 
age  out  of  the  country  where  it  was  spoken.  Thus,  no  in 
stance  exists  of  a  person's  writing  two  languages  perfectly. 
That  will  always  appear  to  be  his  native  language,  which 
was  most  familiar  to  him  in  his  youth.  It  appears  to  me, 
then,  that  an  American,  coming  to  Europe  for  education, 
loses  in  his  knowledge,  in  his  morals,  in  his  health,  in  his 
habits,  and  in  his  happiness.  I  had  entertained  only  doubts 
on  this  head  before  I  came  to  Europe:  what  I  see  and  hear, 
since  I  came  here,  proves  more  than  I  had  even  sus 
pected.  Cast  your  eye  over  America:  who  are  the  men  of 
most  learning,  of  most  eloquence,  most  beloved  by  their 
countrymen  and  most  trusted  and  promoted  by  them  ? 
They  are  those  who  have  been  educated  among  them,  and 
whose  manners,  morals,  and  habits,  are  perfectly  homo 
geneous  with  those  of  the  country. 

To   Colonel  Monroe 

PARIS,  July  9,  1786. 

With  respect  to  the  new  States,  were  the  question  to  stand 
simply  in  this  form: — How  may  the  ultramontane  territory 
be  disposed  of,  so  as  to  produce  the  greatest  and  most  im 
mediate  benefit  to  the  inhabitants  of  the  maritime  States  of 



the  Union?  The  plan  would  be  more  plausible,  of  laying 
it  off  into  two  or  three  States  only.  Even  on  this  view, 
however,  there  would  still  be  something  to  be  said  against 
it,  which  might  render  it  at  least  doubtful.  But  that  it  is  a 
question  which  good  faith  forbids  us  to  receive  into  dis 
cussion.  This  requires  us  to  state  the  question  in  its  just 
form :  How  may  the  Territories  of  the  Union  be  disposed 
of,  so  as  to  produce  the  greatest  degree  of  happiness  to  their 
inhabitants?  With  respect  to  the  maritime  States,  little  or 
nothing  remains  to  be  done.  With  respect,  then,  to  the  ul 
tramontane  States,  will  their  inhabitants  be  happiest,  di 
vided  into  States  of  thirty  thousand  square  miles,  not  quite 
as  large  as  Pennsylvania,  or  into  States  of  one  hundred  and 
sixty  thousand  square  miles,  each,  that  is  to  say,  three  times 
as  large  as  Virginia  within  the  Alleghany?  They  will  not 
only  be  happier  in  States  of  moderate  size,  but  it  is  the  only 
way  in  which  they  can  exist  as  a  regular  society.  Consid 
ering  the  American  character  in  general,  that  of  those  peo 
ple  particularly,  and  the  energetic  nature  of  our  govern 
ments,  a  State  of  such  extent  as  one  hundred  and  sixty 
thousand  square  miles,  would  soon  crumble  into  little  ones. 
These  are  the  circumstances  which  reduce  the  Indians  to 
such  small  societies.  They  would  produce  an  effect  on  our 
people,  similar  to  this.  They  would  not  be  broken  into  such 
small  pieces,  because  they  are  more  habituated  to  subordi 
nation,  and  value  more  a  government  of  regular  law.  But 
you  would  surely  reverse  the  nature  of  things,  in  making 
small  States  on  the  ocean,  and  large  ones  beyond  the  moun 
tains.  If  we  could,  in  our  consciences,  say,  that  great 
States  beyond  the  mountains  will  make  the  people  happiest, 
we  must  still  ask,  whether  they  will  be  contented  to  be  laid 
off  into  large  States  ?  They  certainly  will  not ;  and,  if  they 
decide  to  divide  themselves,  we  are  not  able  to  restrain 
them.  They  will  end  by  separating  from  our  confederacy. 



and  becoming  its  enemies.  We  had  better,  then,  look  for 
ward,  and  see  what  will  be  the  probable  course  of  things. 
This  will  surely  be  a  division  of  that  country  into  States 
of  a  small,  or,  at  most,  of  a  moderate  size.  If  we  lay  them 
off  into  such,  they  will  acquiesce,  and  we  shall  have  the  ad 
vantage  of  arranging  them,  so  as  to  produce  the  best  combi 
nations  of  interest.  What  Congress  have  already  done  in 
this  matter  is  an  argument  the  more  in  favor  of  the  revolt 
of  those  States  against  a  different  arrangement,  and  of 
their  acquiescence  under  a  continuance  of  that.  Upon  this 
plan,  we  treat  them  as  fellow-citizens;  they  will  have  a  just 
share  in  their  own  government;  they  will  love  us,  and  pride 
themselves  in  an  union  with  us.  Upon  the  other,  we  treat 
them  as  sub j  ects ;  we  govern  them,  and  not  they  themselves  ; 
they  will  abhor  us  as  masters,  and  break  off  from  us  in 

Doctrine  of  Force  in  Barbary  States 

PARIS,  August  11,  1786. 

There  is  little  prospect  of  accommodation  between  the 
Algerines,  and  the  Portuguese  and  Neapolitans.  A  very  val 
uable  capture,  too,  lately  made  by  them  on  the  Empress  of 
Russia,  bids  fair  to  draw  her  on  them.  The  probability  is, 
therefore,  that  these  three  nations  will  be  at  war  with  them, 
and  the  probability  is,  that  could  we  furnish  a  couple  of 
frigates,  a  convention  might  be  formed  with  those  powers 
establishing  a  perpetual  cruise  on  the  coast  of  Algiers, 
which  would  bring  them  to  reason.  Such  a  convention,  be 
ing  left  open  to  all  powers  willing  to  come  into  it,  should 
have  for  its  object  a  general  peace,  to  be  guaranteed  to 



each,  by  the  whole.  Were  only  two  or  three  to  begin  a  con 
federacy  of  this  kind,  I  think  every  power  in  Europe  would 
soon  fall  into  it,  except  France,  England,  and  perhaps 
Spain  and  Holland.  Of  these,  there  is  only  England,  who 
would  give  any  real  aid  to  the  Algerines.  Morocco,  you 
perceive,  will  be  at  peace  with  us.  Were  the  honor  and 
advantage  of  establishing  such  a  confederacy  out  of  the 
question,  yet  the  necessity  that  the  United  States  should 
have  some  marine  force,  and  the  happiness  of  this,  as  the 
ostensible  cause  for  beginning  it,  would  decide  on  its  pro 
priety.  It  will  be  said,  there  is  no  money  in  the  Treasury. 
There  never  will  be  money  in  the  Treasury,  till  the  confed 
eracy  shows  its  teeth.  The  States  must  see  the  rod;  per 
haps  it  must  be  felt  by  some  one  of  them.  I  am  persuaded, 
all  of  them  would  rejoice  to  see  every  one  obliged  to  fur 
nish  its  contributions.  It  is  not  the  difficulty  of  furnishing 
them,  which  beggars  the  Treasury,  but  the  fear  that  others 
will  not  furnish  as  much.  Every  rational  citizen  must  wish 
to  see  an  effective  instrument  of  coercion,  and  should  fear 
to  see  it  on  any  other  element  than  the  water.  A  naval 
force  can  never  endanger  our  liberties,  nor  occasion  blood 
shed  ;  a  land  force  would  do  both.  It  is  not  in  the  choice 
of  the  States,  whether  they  will  pay  money  to  cover  their 
trade  against  the  Algerines.  If  they  obtain  a  peace  by 
negotiation,  they  must  pay  a  great  sum  of  money  for  it; 
if  they  do  nothing,  they  must  pay  a  great  sum  of  money,  in 
the  form  of  insurance;  and  in  either  way,  as  great  a  one  as 
in  the  way  of  force,  and  probably  less  effectual. 


On  the  Cincinnati 

To  General  Washington 

PARIS,  November  14,  1786. 

The  author  of  the  political  part  of  the  "Encyclopedic 
Methodique"  desired  me  to  examine  his  article,  "Etats 
Unis."  I  did  so.  I  found  it  a  tissue  of  errors,  for,  in 
truth,  they  know  nothing  about  us  here.  Particularly,  how 
ever,  the  article  "Cincinnati"  was  a  mere  philippic  against 
that  institution,  in  which  it  appeared  that  there  was  an 
utter  ignorance  of  facts  and  motives.  I  gave  him  notes  on 
it.  He  reformed  it,  as  he  supposed,  and  sent  it  again  to 
me  to  revise.  In  this  reformed  state,  Colonel  Humphreys 
saw  it.  I  found  it  necessary  to  write  that  article  for  him. 
Before  I  gave  it  to  him,  I  showed  it  to  the  Marquis  de  La 
Fayette,  who  made  a  correction  or  two.  I  then  sent  it  to 
the  author.  He  used  the  materials,  mixing  a  great  deal  of 
his  own  with  them.  In  a  work,  which  is  sure  of  going 
down  to  the  latest  posterity,  I  thought  it  material  to  set 
facts  to  rights  as  much  as  possible.  The  author  was  well 
disposed,  but  could  not  entirely  get  the  better  of  his  origi 
nal  bias.  I  send  you  the  article  as  ultimately  published. 
If  you  find  any  material  errors  in  it,  and  will  be  so  good  as 
to  inform  me  of  them,  I  shall  probably  have  opportunities 
of  setting  this  author  to  rights.  What  has  heretofore 
passed  between  us  on  this  institution,  makes  -it  my  duty  to 
mention  to  you,  that  I  have  never  heard  a  person  in  Europe, 
learned  or  unlearned,  express  his  thoughts  on  this  institu 
tion,  who  did  not  consider  it  as  dishonorable  and  destructive 
to  our  governments ;  and  that  every  writing  which  has 
come  out  since  my  arrival  here,  in  which  it  is  mentioned, 
considers  it,  even  as  now  reformed,  as  the  germ  whose  de- 


velopment  is  one  day  to  destroy  the  fabric  we  have  reared. 
I  did  not  apprehend  this,  while  I  had  American  ideas  only. 
But  I  confess  that  what  I  have  seen  in  Europe  has  brought 
me  over  to  that  opinion ;  and  that  though  the  day  may  be  at 
some  distance,  beyond  the  reach  of  our  lives,  perhaps,  yet 
it  will  certainly  come,  when  a  single  fibre  left  of  this  in 
stitution  will  produce  an  hereditary  aristocracy,  which  will 
change  the  form  of  our  governments  from  the  best  to  the 
worst  in  the  world.  To  know  the  mass  of  evil  which  flows 
from  this  fatal  source,  a  person  must  be  in  France;  he  must 
see  the  finest  soil,  the  finest  climate,  the  most  compact  State, 
the  most  benevolent  character  of  people,  and  every  earthly 
advantage  combined,  insufficient  to  prevent  this  scourge 
from  rendering  existence  a  curse  to  twenty-four  out  of 
twenty-five  parts  of  the  inhabitants  of  this  country.  With 
us,  the  branches  of  this  institution  cover  all  the  States.  The 
Southern  ones,  at  this  time,  are  aristocratical  in  their  dis 
positions;  and  that  that  spirit  should  grow  and  extend  it 
self,  is  within  the  natural  order  of  things.  I  do  not  flatter 
myself  with  the  immortality  of  our  governments,  but  I 
shall  think  little  also  of  their  longevity,  unless  this  germ 
of  destruction  be  taken  out.  When  the  society  themselves 
shall  weigh  the  possibility  of  evil,  against  the  impossibility 
of  any  good  to  proceed  from  this  institution,  I  cannot  help 
hoping  they  will  eradicate  it.  I  know  they  wish  the  perma 
nence  of  our  governments,  as  much  as  any  individuals  com 
posing  them. 



On  the  Simple  Life 

To  Colonel  Monroe 

PARIS,  December   18,,  1786. 

You  wish  not  to  engage  in  the  drudgery  of  the  bar.  You 
have  two  asylums  from  that.  Either  to  accept  a  seat  in  the 
Council,  or  in  the  judiciary  department.  The  latter,  how 
ever,  would  require  a  little  previous  drudgery  at  the  bar, 
to  qualify  you  to  discharge  your  duty  with  satisfaction  to 
j'ourself.  Neither  of  these  would  be  inconsistent  with  a 
continued  residence  in  Albemarle.  It  is  but  twelve  hours' 
drive  in  a  sulky  from  Charlottesville  to  Richmond,  keeping 
a  fresh  horse  always  at  the  half-way,  which  would  be  a 
small  annual  expense.  I  am  in  hopes  that  Mrs.  M.  will 
have  in  her  domestic  cares,  occupation  and  pleasure,  suffi 
cient  to  fill  her  time,  and  insure  her  against  the  tedium  mtae; 
that  she  will  find,  that  the  distractions  of  a  town,  and  the 
waste  of  life  under  these,  can  bear  no  comparison  with  the 
tranquil  happiness  of  domestic  life.  If  her  own  experience 
has  not  yet  taught  her  this  truth,  she  has  in  its  favor  the 
testimony  of  one  who  has  gone  through  the  various  scenes 
of  business,  of  bustle,  of  office,  of  rambling,  and  of  quiet 
retirement,  and  who  can  assure  her,  that  the  latter  is  the 
only  point  upon  which  the  mind  can  settle  at  rest.  Though 
not  clear  of  inquietudes,  because  no  earthly  situation  is  so, 
they  are  fewer  in  number,  and  mixed  with  more  objects  of 
contentment  than  in  any  other  mode  of  life.  But  I  must  not 
philosophize  too  much  with  her,  lest  I  give  her  too  se 
rious  apprehensions  of  a  friendship  I  shall  impose  on  her. 
I  am  with  very  great  esteem,  dear  Sir,  your  sincere  friend 
and  servant. 



To  Colonel  Edward  Carrington 

PARIS,  January  16,  1787- 

The  way  to  prevent  irregular  interpositions  of  the  people, 
is  to  give  them  full  information  of  their  affairs  through  the 
channel  of  the  public  papers,  and  to  contrive  that  those  pa 
pers  should  penetrate  the  whole  mass  of  the  people.  The 
basis  of  our  governments  being  the  opinion  of  the  people, 
the  very  first  object  should  be  to  keep  that  right;  and  were 
it  left  to  me  to  decide  whether  we  should  have  a  govern 
ment  without  newspapers,  or  newspapers  without  a  govern 
ment,  I  should  not  hesitate  a  moment  to  prefer  the  latter. 
But  I  should  mean  that  every  man  should  receive  those  pa 
pers,  and  be  capable  of  reading  them. 

On  the  Theory  of  Government  and  on  Louisiana 

To  James  Madison 

JANUARY  30,  1787. 

Dear  Sir:  I  am  impatient  to  learn  your  sentiments  on 
the  late  troubles  in  the  Eastern  States.  So  far  as  I  have 
yet  seen,  they  do  not  appear  to  threaten  serious  conse 
quences.  Those  States  have  suffered  by  the  stoppage  of 
the  channels  of  their  commerce,  which  have  not  yet  found 
other  issues.  This  must  render  money  scarce,  and  make 
the  people  uneasy.  This  uneasiness  has  produced  acts  ab 
solutely  unjustifiable;  but  I  hope  they  will  provoke  no 
severities  from  their  governments.  A  consciousness  of 



those  in  power  that  their  administration  of  the  public  affairs 
has  been  honest,  may,  perhaps,  produce  too  great  a  degree 
of  indignation;  and  those  characters,  wherein  fear  predom 
inates  over  hope,  may  apprehend  too  much  from  these  in 
stances  of  irregularity.  They  may  conclude  too  hastily, 
that  nature  has  formed  man  insusceptible  of  any  other  gov 
ernment  than  that  of  force,  a  conclusion  not  founded  in 
truth  nor  experience.  Societies  exist  under  three  forms, 
sufficiently  distinguishable.  1.  Without  government,  as 
among  our  Indians.  2.  Under  governments,  wherein  the 
will  of  every  one  has  a  just  influence;  as  is  the  case  in  Eng 
land,  in  a  slight  degree,  and  in  our  States,  in  a  great  one. 
3.  Under  governments  of  force;  as  is  the  case  in  all  other 
monarchies,  and  in  most  of  the  other  republics.  To  have 
an  idea  of  the  curse  of  existence  under  these  last,  they  must 
be  seen.  It  is  a  government  of  wolves  over  sheep.  It  is  a 
problem,  not  clear  in  my  mind,  that  the  first  condition  is 
not  the  best.  But  I  believe  it  to  be  inconsistent  with  any 
great  degree  of  population.  The  second  state  has  a  great 
deal  of  good  in  it.  The  mass  of  mankind  under  that,  en 
joys  a  precious  degree  of  liberty  and  happiness.  It  has  its 
evils,  too;  the  principal  of  which  is  the  turbulence  to  which 
it  is  subject.  But  weigh  this  against  the  oppressions  of 
monarchy,  and  it  becomes  nothing.  Malo  periculosam  li- 
bertatem  quam  quietam  servitutem.  Even  this  evil  is  produc 
tive  of  good.  It  prevents  the  degeneracy  of  government, 
and  nourishes  a  general  attention  to  the  public  affairs.  I 
hold  it,  that  a  little  rebellion,  now  and  then,  is  a  good 
thing,  and  as  necessary  in  the  political  world  as  storms  in 
the  physical.  Unsuccessful  rebellions,  indeed,  generally 
establish  the  encroachments  on  the  rights  of  the  people, 
which  have  produced  them.  An  observation  of  this  truth 
should  render  honest  republican  governors  so  mild  in  their 
punishment  of  rebellions,  as  not  to  discourage  them  too 



much.     It  is  a  medicine  necessary  for  the  sound  health  of 

If  these  transactions  give  me  no  uneasiness,  I  feel  very 
differently  at  another  piece  of  intelligence,  to  wit,  the  pos 
sibility  that  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  may  be  aban 
doned  to  Spain.  I  never  had  any  interest  westward  of  the 
Alleghany;  and  I  never  will  have  any.  But  I  have  had 
great  opportunities  of  knowing  the  character  of  the  people 
who  inhabit  that  country;  and  I  will  venture  to  say  that  the 
act  which  abandons  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  is  an 
act  of  separation  between  the  eastern  and  western  country. 
It  is  a  relinquishment  of  five  parts  out  of  eight,  of  the  ter 
ritory  of  the  United  States ;  an  abandonment  of  the  fairest 
subject  for  the  payment  of  our  public  debts,  and  the  chain 
ing  those  debts  on  our  own  necks,  in  perpetuum.  I  have  the 
utmost  confidence  in  the  honest  intentions  of  those  who  con 
cur  in  this  measure ;  but  I  lament  their  want  of  acquaintance 
with  the  character  and  physical  advantages  of  the  people, 
who,  right  or  wrong,  will  suppose  their  interest  sacrificed 
on  this  occasion  to  the  contrary  interests  of  that  part  of  the 
confederacy  in  possession  of  present  power.  If  they  de 
clare  themselves  a  separate  people,  we  are  incapable  of  a 
single  effort  to  retain  them.  Our  citizens  can  never  be  in 
duced,  either  as  militia  or  as  soldiers,  to  go  there  to  cut  the 
throats  of  their  own  brothers  and  sons,  or  rather,  to  be 
themselves  the  subjects,  instead  of  the  perpetrators  of  the 
parricide.  Nor  would  that  country  quit  the  cost  of  being 
retained  against  the  will  of  its  inhabitants,  could  it  be  done. 
But  it  cannot  be  done.  They  are  able  already  to  rescue  the 
navigation  of  the  Mississippi  out  of  the  hands  of  Spain, 
and  to  add  New  Orleans  to  their  own  territory.  They  will 
be  joined  by  the  inhabitants  of  Louisiana.  This  will  bring 
on  a  war  between  them  and  Spain ;  and  that  will  produce  the 
question  with  us,  whether  it  will  not  be  worth  our  while  to 



become  parties  with  them  in  the  war,  in  order  to  reunite 
them  with  us,  and  thus  correct  our  error?  And  were  I  to 
permit  my  forebodings  to  go  one  step  further,  I  should  pre 
dict  that  the  inhabitants  of  the  United  States  would  force 
their  rulers  to  take  the  affirmative  of  that  question.  I  wish 
I  may  be  mistaken  in  all  these  opinions. 

To  James  Madison 

PARIS,  January  30,  1787. 

You  know  the  opinion  I  formerly  entertained  of  my 
friend,  Mr.  Adams  .  .  .  and  the  Governor  were  the  first 
who  shook  that  opinion.  I  afterward  saw  proofs  which 
convicted  him  of  a  degree  of  vanity,  and  of  a  blindness  to 
it,  of  which  no  germ  appeared  in  Congress.  A  seven  months' 
intimacy  with  him  here,  and  as  many  weeks  in  London,  have 
given  me  opportunities  of  studying  him  closely.  He  is  vain, 
irritable,  and  a  bad  calculator  of  the  force  and  probable  ef 
fect  of  the  motives  which  govern  men.  This  is  all  the  ill 
which  can  possibly  be  said  of  him.  He  is  as  disinterested 
as  the  being  who  made  him:  he  is  profound  in  his  views, 
and  accurate  in  his  judgment,  except  where  knowledge  of 
the  world  is  necessary  to  form  a  judgment.  He  is  so  amia 
ble,  that  I  pronounce  you  will  love  him,  if  ever  you  become 
acquainted  with  him.  He  would  be,  as  he  was,  a  great  man 
in  Congress. 


To  Mrs.  Bingham 

PARIS,  February  7,  1787. 

I  know,  Madam,  that  the  twelvemonth  is  not  yet  expired ; 
but  it  will  be,  nearly,  before  this  will  have  the  honor  of 
being  put  into  your  hands.  You  are  then  engaged  to  tell 
me,  truly  and  honestly,  whether  you  do  not  find  the  tran 
quil  pleasures  of  America,  preferable  to  the  empty  bustle  of 
Paris.  For,  to  what  does  that  bustle  tend?  At  eleven 
o'clock,  it  is  day,  chez  madame.  The  curtains  are  drawn. 
Propped  on  bolsters  and  pillows,  and  her  head  scratched 
into  a  little  order,  the  bulletins  of  the  sick  are  read,  and  the 
billets  of  the  well.  She  writes  to  some  of  her  acquaintance, 
and  receives  the  visits  of  others.  If  the  morning  is  not  very 
thronged,  she  is  able  to  get  out  and  hobble  round  the  cage 
of  the  Palais  Royal;  but  she  must  hobble  quickly,  for  the 
coiffeur's  turn  is  come ;  and  a  tremendous  turn  it  is !  Hap 
py,  if  he  does  not  make  her  arrive  when  dinner  is  half 
over !  The  torpitude  of  digestion  a  little  passed,  she  flut 
ters  half  an  hour  through  the  streets,  by  way  of  paying 
visits,  and  then  to  the  spectacles.  These  finished,  another 
half  hour  is  devoted  to  dodging  in  and  out  of  the  doors  of 
her  very  sincere  friends,  and  away  to  supper.  After  sup 
per,  cards;  and  after  cards,  bed;  to  rise  at  noon  the  next 
day,  and  to  tread,  like  a  mill-horse,  the  same  trodden  circle 
over  again.  Thus  the  days  of  life  are  consumed,  one  by 
one,  without  an  object  beyond  the  present  moment;  ever  fly 
ing  from  the  ennui  of  that,  yet  carrying  it  with  us;  eter 
nally  in  pursuit  of  happiness,  which  keeps  eternally  be 
fore  us.  If  death  or  bankruptcy  happen  to  trip  us  out  of 
the  circle,  it  is  matter  for  the  buzz  of  the  evening,  and  is 



completely  forgotten  by  the  next  morning.  In  America,  on 
the  other  hand,  the  society  of  your  husband,  the  fond  cares 
for  the  children,  the  arrangements  of  the  house,  the  im 
provements  of  the  grounds,  fill  every  moment  with  a  healthy 
and  a  useful  activity.  Every  exertion  is  encouraging,  be 
cause,  to  present  amusement,  it  joins  the  promise  of  some 
future  good.  The  intervals  of  leisure  are  filled  by  the  so 
ciety  of  real  friends,  whose  affections  are  not  thinned  to 
cobweb,  by  being  spread  over  a  thousand  objects.  This  is 
the  picture,  in  the  light  it  is  presented  to  my  mind;  now  let 
me  have  it  in  yours.  If  we  do  not  concur  this  year,  we  shall 
the  next;  or  if  not  then,  in  a  year  or  two  more.  You  see 
I  am  determined  not  to  suppose  myself  mistaken. 

Art  et  la  Politesse 

To  Madame  la  Comtesse  de  Tesse 

NISMES,  March  20,  1787. 

Here  I  am,  Madam,  gazing  whole  hours  at  the  Maison 
Quarree,  like  a  lover  at  his  mistress.  The  stocking-weavers 
and  silk-spinners  around  it  consider  me  a  hypochondriac 
Englishman,  about  to  write  with  a  pistol  the  last  chapter  of 
his  history.  This  is  the  second  time  I  have  been  in  love 
since  I  left  Paris.  The  first  was  with  a  Diana  at  the  Cha 
teau  de  Laye-Epinaye  in  Beaujolois,  a  delicious  morsel 
of  sculpture,  by  M.  A.  Slodtz.  This,  you  will  say,  was  in 
rule,  to  fall  in  love  with  a  female  beauty ;  but  with  a  house ! 
it  is  out  of  all  precedent.  No,  Madam,  it  is  not  without  a 
precedent  in  my  own  history.  While  in  Paris,  I  was  vio 
lently  smitten  with  the  Hotel  de  Salm,  and  used  to  go  to  the 
Tuileries  almost  daily,  to  look  at  it.  The  loueuse  des  chaises, 
inattentive  to  my  passion,  never  had  the  complaisance  to 



place  a  chair  there,  so  that,  sitting  on  the  parapet,  and 
twisting  my  neck  round  to  see  the  object  of  my  admiration, 
I  generally  left  it  with  a  torti-colli. 

From  Lyons  to  Nismes  I  have  been  nourished  with  the 
remains  of  Roman  grandeur.  They  have  always  brought 
you  to  my  mind,  because  I  know  your  affection  for  what 
ever  is  Roman  and  noble.  At  Vienna  I  thought  of  you. 
But  I  am  glad  you  were  not  there;  for  you  would  have  seen 
me  more  angry  than,  I  hope  you  will  ever  see  me.  The 
Praetorian  Palace,  as  it  is  called,  comparable,  for  its  fine 
proportions,  to  the  Maison  Quarree,  defaced  by  the  barba 
rians  who  have  converted  it  to  its  present  purpose,  its  beau 
tiful  fluted  Corinthian  columns  cut  out,  in  part,  to  make 
space  for  Gothic  windows,  and  hewed  down,  in  the  residue, 
to  the  plane  of  the  building,  was  enough,  you  must  admit, 
to  disturb  my  composure.  .  .  . 

Loving,  as  you  do,  madam,  the  precious  remains  of  antiq 
uity,  loving  architecture,  gardening,  a  warm  sun  and  a  clear 
sky,  I  wonder  you  have  never  thought  of  moving  Chaville 
to  Nismes.  This,  as  you  know,  has  not  always  been  deemed 
impracticable;  and,  therefore,  the  next  time  a  Sur-intendant 
des  bailments  du  roi,  after  the  example  of  M.  Colbert, 
sends  persons  to  Nismes  to  move  the  Maison  Quarree  to 
Paris,  that  they  may  not  come  empty-handed,  desire  them 
to  bring  Chaville  with  them,  to  replace  it.  ... 

From  a  correspondent  at  Nismes,  you  will  not  expect 
news.  Were  I  to  attempt  to  give  you  news,  I  should  tell 
you  stories  one  thousand  years  old.  I  should  detail  to  you 
the  intrigues  of  the  courts  of  the  Caesars,  how  they  affect 
us  here,  the  oppressions  of  their  praetors,  prefects,  etc.  I 
am  immersed  in  antiquities  from  morning  to  night.  For  me, 
the  city  of  Rome  is  actually  existing  in  all  the  splendor  of 
its  empire.  I  am  filled  with  alarms  for  the  event  of  the  ir 
ruptions  daily  making  on  us,  by  the  Goths,  the  Visigoths, 



Ostrogoths,  and  Vandals,  lest  they  should  reconquer  us  to 
our  original  barbarism.  If  I  am  sometimes  induced  to  look 
forward  to  the  eighteenth  century,  it  is  only  when  recalled 
to  it  by  the  recollection  of  your  goodness  and  friendship, 
and  by  those  sentiments  of  sincere  esteem  and  respect  with 
which  I  have  the  honor  to  be,  Madam,  your  most  obedient 
and  most  humble  servant. 

Travel  and  Science. 

To  the  Marquis  de  La  Fayette 

APRIL  — ,  1787. 

From  the  first  olive  fields  of  Pierrelatte,  to  the  orange 
ries  of  Hieres,  has  been  continued  rapture  to  me.  I  have 
often  wished  for  you.  I  think  you  have  not  made  this  jour 
ney.  It  is  a  pleasure  you  have  to  come,  and  an  improve 
ment  to  be  added  to  the  many  you  have  already  made.  It 
will  be  a  great  comfort  to  you,  to  know,  from  your  own  in 
spection,  the  condition  of  all  the  provinces  of  your  own 
country,  and  it  will  be  interesting  to  them  at  some  future 
day,  to  be  known  to  you.  This  is,  perhaps,  the  only  moment 
of  your  life  in  which  you  can  acquire  that  knowledge.  And 
to  do  it  most  effectually,  you  must  be  absolutely  incognito; 
you  must  ferret  the  people  out  of  their  hovels  as  I  have 
done,  look  into  their  kettles,  eat  their  bread,  loll  on  their 
beds  under  pretence  of  resting  yourself,  but  in  fact  to  find 
if  they  are  soft.  You  will  feel  a  sublime  pleasure  in  the 
course  of  this  investigation,  and  a  sublimer  one  hereafter, 
when  you  shall  be  able  to  apply  your  knowledge  to  the  soft 
ening  of  their  beds,  or  the  throwing  a  morsel  of  meat  into 
their  kettle  of  vegetables. 


On  Rice  Culture 

To  Edward  Rutledge,  Esq. 

PARIS,  July  14,  1787. 

Dear  Sir:  I  was  glad  to  find  that  the  adaptation  of  your 
rice  to  this  market  was  considered  worth  attention,  as  I  had 
supposed  it.  I  set  out  from  hence  impressed  with  the  idea 
the  rice-dealers  here  had  given  me,  that  the  difference  be 
tween  your  rice  and  that  of  Piedmont  proceeded  from  a  dif 
ference  in  the  machine  for  cleaning  it.  At  Marseilles  I 
hoped  to  know  what  the  Piedmont  machine  was,  but  I  could 
find  nobody  who  knew  anything  of  it.  I  determined,  there 
fore,  to  sift  the  matter  to  the  bottom,  by  crossing  the  Alps 
into  the  rice  country.  I  found  their  machine  exactly  such  a 
one  as  you  had  described  to  me  in  Congress  in  the  year  1783. 
There  was  but  one  conclusion  then  to  be  drawn,  to  wit,  that 
the  rice  was  of  a  different  species,  and  I  determined  to  take 
enough  to  put  you  in  seed;  they  informed  me,  however,  that 
its  exportation  in  the  husk  was  prohibited,  so  I  could  only 
bring  off  as  much  as  my  coat  and  surtout  pockets  would 
hold.  I  took  measures  with  a  muleteer  to  run  a  couple  of 
sacks  across  the  Apennines  to  Genoa,  but  have  not  great 
dependence  on  its  success.  The  little,  therefore,  which  I 
brought  myself,  must  be  relied  on  for  fear  we  should  get  no 
more;  and  because,  also,  it  is  genuine  from  Vercilli,  where 
the  best  is  made  of  all  the  Sardinian  Lombardy,  the  whole 
of  which  is  considered  as  producing  a  better  rice  than  the 


On  the  Suppression  of  the  Slave  Trade 

To  Edward  Rutledge,  Esq. 

PARIS,  July  14,  1787. 

I  congratulate  you,  my  dear  friend,  on  the  law  of  your 
State,  for  suspending  the  importation  of  slaves,  and  for  the 
glory  you  have  justly  acquired  by  endeavoring  to  prevent 
it  forever.  This  abomination  must  have  an  end.  And  there 
is  a  superior  bench  reserved  in  heaven  for  those  who 
hasten  it. 

On  the  National  Character 

PARIS,  July  28,  1787. 

Among  many  good  qualities  which  my  countrymen  pos 
sess,  some  of  a  different  character  unhappily  mix  themselves. 
The  most  remarkable  are,  indolence,  extravagance,  and  infi 
delity  to  their  engagements.  Cure  the  two  first,  and  the 
last  would  disappear,  because  it  is  a  consequence  of  them, 
and  not  proceeding  from  a  want  of  morals.  I  know  of  no 
remedy  against  indolence  and  extravagance  but  a  free 
course  of  justice.  Everything  else  is  merely  palliative;  but 
unhappily,  the  evil  has  gained  too  generally  the  mass  of  the 
nation,  to  leave  the  course  of  justice  unobstructed.  The 
maxim  of  buying  nothing  without  the  money  in  our  pockets 
to  pay  for  it,  would  make  of  our  country  one  of  the  happiest 
upon  earth.  Experience  during  the  war  proved  this;  as  I 
think  every  man  will  remember,  that  under  all  the  priva 
tions  it  obliged  him  to  submit  to,  during  that  period,  he 



slept  sounder,  and  awaked  happier  than  he  can  do  now. 
Desperate  of  finding  relief  from  a  free  course  of  justice,  I 
look  forward  to  the  abolition  of  all  credit,  as  the  only  other 
remedy  which  can  take  place.  I  have  seen,  therefore,  with 
pleasure,  the  exaggerations  of  our  want  of  faith,  with  Avhich 
the  London  papers  teem.  It  is,  indeed,  a  strong  medicine 
for  sensible  minds,  but  it  is  a  medicine.  It  will  prevent 
their  crediting  us  abroad,  in  which  case  we  cannot  be  cred 
ited  at  home. 

Division  of  Authority  in  Government 

To  Edward  Carrington 

PARIS,  August  4,  1787. 

My  general  plan  would  be,  to  make  the  States  one  as  to 
everything  connected  with  foreign  nations,  and  several  as 
to  everything  purely  domestic.  But  with  all  the  imperfec 
tions  of  our  present  government,  it  is  without  comparison 
the  best  existing,  or  that  ever  did  exist.  Its  greatest  defect 
is  the  imperfect  manner  in  which  matters  of  commerce  have 
been  provided  for.  It  has  been  so  often  said,  as  to  be  gen 
erally  believed,  that  Congress  have  no  power  by  the  Con 
federation  to  enforce  anything;  for  example,  contributions 
of  money.  It  was  not  necessary  to  give  them  that  power  ex 
pressly;  they  have  it  by  the  law  of  nature.  When  two  par 
ties  make  a  compact,  there  results  to  each  a  power  of  com 
pelling  the  other  to  execute  it.  Compulsion  was  never  so 
easy  as  in  our  case,  where  a  single  frigate  would  soon  levy 
on  the  commerce  of  any  State  the  deficiency  of  its  contribu 
tions  ;  nor  more  safe  than  in  the  hands  of  Congress,  which 
has  always  shown  that  it  would  wait,  as  it  ought  to  do,  to 
the  last  extremities,  before  it  would  execute  any  of  its  pow- 



ers  which  are  disagreeable.  I  think  it  very  material  to  sep 
arate,  in  the  hands  of  Congress,  the  executive  and  legisla 
tive  powers,  as  the  judiciary  already  are,  in  some  degree. 
This,  I  hope,  will  be  done.  The  want  of  it  has  been  the 
source  of  more  evil  than  we  have  experienced  from  any 
other  cause.  Nothing  is  so  embarrassing  or  so  mischiev 
ous,  in  a  great  assembly,  as  the  details  of  execution.  The 
smallest  trifle  of  that  kind  occupies  as  long  as  the  most  im 
portant  act  of  legislation,  and  takes  place  of  everything 
else.  Let  any  man  recollect,  or  look  over,  the  files  of  Con 
gress  ;  he  will  observe  the  most  important  propositions 
hanging  over,  from  week  to  week,  and  month  to  month,  till 
the  occasions  have  passed  them  and  the  things  never  done. 
I  have  ever  viewed  the  executive  details  as  the  greatest  cause 
of  evil  to  us,  because  they  in  fact  place  us  as  if  we  had  no 
federal  head,  by  diverting  the  attention  of  that  head  from 
great  to  small  subj  ects ;  and  should  this  division  of  power 
not  be  recommended  by  the  convention,  it  is  my  opinion 
Congress  should  make  it  itself  by  establishing  an  executive 

In  Defence  of  Rebellions 

To  Colonel  Smith 

PARIS,  November  13,  1787. 

Where  did  it  [anarchy]  ever  exist,  except  in  the  single 
instance  of  Massachusetts?  And  can  history  produce  an 
instance  of  rebellion  so  honorably  conducted?  I  say  noth 
ing  of  its  motives.  They  were  founded  in  ignorance,  not 
wickedness.  God  forbid  we  should  ever  be  twenty  years 
without  such  a  rebellion.  The  people  cannot  be  all,  and 
always,  well  informed.  The  part  which  is  wrong  will  be 



discontented,  in  proportion  to  the  importance  of  the  facts 
they  misconceive.  If  they  remain  quiet  under  such  miscon 
ceptions,  it  is  a  lethargy,  the  forerunner  of  death  to  the 
public  liberty.  We  have  had  thirteen  States  independent 
for  eleven  years.  There  has  been  one  rebellion.  That 
comes  to  one  rebellion  in  a  century  and  a  half,  for  each 
State.  What  country  before,  ever  existed  a  century  and  a 
half  without  a  rebellion?  And  what  country  can  preserve 
its  liberties,  if  its  rulers  are  not  warned  from  time  to  time, 
that  this  people  preserve  the  spirit  of  resistance  ?  Let  them 
take  arms.  The  remedy  is  to  set  them  right  as  to  facts, 
pardon  and  pacify  them.  What  signify  a  few  lives  lost  in 
a  century  or  two?  The  tree  of  liberty  must  be  refreshed 
from  time  to  time,  with  the  blood  of  patriots  and  tyrants. 
It  is  its  natural  manure.  Our  convention  has  been  too 
much  impressed  by  the  insurrection  of  Massachusetts ;  and 
on  the  spur  of  the  moment,  they  are  setting  up  a  kite  to 
keep  the  hen-yard  in  order. 

On  Emancipating  Slaves 

To  Edward  "Bancroft 

PARIS,  January  26,  1788. 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  deferred  answering  your  letter  on  the 
subject  of  slaves  because  you  permitted  me  to  do  it  till  a 
moment  of  leisure,  and  that  moment  rarely  comes,  and  be 
cause,  too,  I  could  not  answer  you  with  such  a  degree  of  cer 
tainty  as  to  merit  any  notice.  I  do  not  recollect  the  con 
versation  at  Vincennes  to  which  you  allude,  but  can  repeat 
still,  on  the  same  ground  on  which  I  must  have  done  then, 
that  as  far  as  I  can  judge  from  the  experiments  which 



have  been  made,  to  give  liberty  to,  or  rather  abandon,  per 
sons  whose  habits  have  been  formed  in  slavery  is  like  aban 
doning  children.  Many  Quakers  in  Virginia  seated  their 
slaves  on  their  lands  as  tenants ;  they  were  distant  from  me, 
and  therefore  I  cannot  be  particular  in  the  details  because 
I  never  had  very  particular  information.  I  cannot  say 
whether  they  were  to  pay  a  rent  in  money  or  a  share  of  the 
produce,  but  I  remember  that  the  landlord  was  obliged  to 
plan  their  crops  for  them,  to  direct  all  their  operations  dur 
ing  every  season  and  according  to  the  weather;  but,  what 
is  more  afflicting,  he  was  obliged  to  watch  them  daily  and 
almost  constantly  to  make  them  work  and  even  to  whip  them. 
A  man's  moral  sense  must  be  unusually  strong  if  slavery 
does  not  make  him  a  thief.  He  who  is  permitted  by  law  to 
have  no  property  of  his  own  can  with  difficulty  conceive 
that  property  is  founded  on  anything  but  force.  These 
slaves  chose  to  steal  from  their  neighbors  rather  than  work; 
they  became  public  nuisances,  and  in  most  instances  were  re 
duced  to  slavery  again.  But  I  will  beg  of  you  to  make  no 
use  of  this  imperfect  information  (unless  in  common  con 
versation).  I  shall  go  to  America  in  the  spring  and  return 
in  the  fall.  During  my  stay  in  Virginia  I  shall  be  in  the 
neighborhood  where  many  of  these  trials  were  made.  I 
will  inform  myself  very  particularly  of  them  and  communi 
cate  the  information  to  you. 

Besides  these  there  is  an  instance  since  I  came  away  of  a 
young  man  (Mr.  Mays)  who  died  and  gave  freedom  to  all 
his  slaves,  about  200;  this  is  about  a  year  ago.  I  shall 
know  how  they  have  turned  out.  Notwithstanding  the  dis 
couraging  result  of  these  experiments  I  am  decided  on  my 
final  return  to  America  to  try  this  one.  I  shall  endeavor  to 
import  as  many  Germans  as  I  have  grown  slaves.  I  will 
settle  them  and  my  slaves  on  farms  of  fifty  acres  each,  in 
termingled,  and  place  all  on  the  footing  of  the  Metayers 



(Medictani)  of  Europe.  Their  children  shall  be  brought 
up  as  others  are  in  habits  of  property  and  foresight,  and  I 
have  no  doubt  but  that  they  will  be  good  citizens.  Some  of 
their  fathers  will  be  so ;  others  I  suppose  will  need  govern 
ment;  with  these  all  that  can  be  done  is  to  oblige  them  to., 
labor  as  the  laboring  poor  of  Europe  do,  and  to  apply  to, 
their  comfortable  subsistence  the  produce  of  their  labor,  re 
taining  such  a  moderate  portion  of  it  as  may  be  a  just  equiv 
alent  for  the  use  of  the  lands  they  labor  and  the  stocks  and 
other  necessary  advances. 

Philosophy  of  Life 

To  Alexander  Donald 

PARIS,  February  7,  1788. 

I  had  rather  be  shut  up  in  a  very  modest  cottage,  with  my 
books,  my  family,  and  a  few  old  friends,  dining  on  simple 
bacon,  and  letting  the  world  roll  on  as  it  liked,  than  to  oc 
cupy  the  most  splendid  post,  which  any  human  power  can 
give.  I  shall  be  glad  to  hear  from  you  often.  Give  me  the 
small  news  as  well  as  the  great.  Tell  Dr.  Currie,  that  I  be 
lieve  I  am  indebted  to  him  in  a  letter,  but  that  like  the  mass 
of  our  countrymen,  I  am  not,  at  this  moment,  able  to  pay  all 
my  debts. 

On  the  Adoption  of  the  Constitution 

To  Mr.  A.  Donald 

FEBRUARY,  1788. 

I  wish  with  all  my  soul,  that  the  nine  first  conventions 
mav  accept  the  new  Constitution,  because  this  will  secure  to 



us  the  good  it  contains,  which  I  think  great  and  important. 
But  I  equally  wish,  that  the  four  latest  conventions,  which 
ever  they  be,  may  refuse  to  accede  to  it,  till  a  declaration 
of  rights  be  annexed.  This  would  probably  command  the 
offer  of  such  a  declaration,  and  thus  give  to  the  whole  fab 
ric,  perhaps,  as  much  perfection  as  any  one  of  that  kind 
ever  had.  By  a  declaration  of  rights,  I  mean  one  which 
shall  stipulate  freedom  of  religion,  freedom  of  the  press, 
freedom  of  commerce  against  monopolies,  trial  by  juries  in 
all  cases,  no  suspensions  of  the  habeas  corpus,  no  standing 
armies.  These  are  fetters  against  doing  evil,  which  no 
honest  government  should  decline.  There  is  another  strong 
feature  in  the  new  Constitution,  which  I  as  strongly  dislike. 
That  is,  the  perpetual  reeligibility  of  the  President.  Of 
this  I  expect  no  amendment  at  present,  because  I  do  not  see 
that  anybody  has  objected  to  it  on  your  side  the  water. 
But  it  will  be  productive  of  cruel  distress  to  our  country, 
even  in  your  day  and  mine.  The  importance  to  France  and 
England,  to  have  our  government  in  the  hands  of  a  friend 
or  a  foe,  will  occasion  their  interference  by  money,  and  even 
by  arms.  Our  President  will  be  of  much  more  consequence 
to  them  than  a  King  of  Poland.  We  must  take  care,  how 
ever,  that  neither  this,  nor  any  other  objection  to  the  new 
form,  produces  a  schism  in  our  Union.  That  would  be  an 
incurable  evil,  because  near  friends  falling  out,  never  re 
unite  cordially ;  whereas,  all  of  us  going  together,  we  shall 
be  sure  to  cure  the  evils  of  our  new  Constitution,  before 
they  do  great  harm. 



Potomac  Canal — European  Affairs — The 

To  General  Washington 

PARIS,  May  2,  1788. 

Dear  Sir:  I  am  honored  with  your  Excellency's  letter  by 
the  last  packet,  and  thank  you  for  the  information  it  con 
tains  on  the  communication  between  the  Cayahoga  and  Big 
Beaver.  I  have  ever  considered  the  opening  a  canal  be 
tween  those  two  watercourses  as  the  most  important  work 
in  that  line  which  the  State  of  Virginia  could  undertake. 
It  will  infallibly  turn  through  the  Potomac  all  the  com 
merce  of  Lake  Erie,  and  the  country  west  of  that,  except 
what  may  pass  down  the  Mississippi;  and  it  is  important 
that  it  be  soon  done,  lest  that  commerce  should,  in  the 
meantime,  get  established  in  another  channel.  Having,  in 
the  spring  of  the  last  year,  taken  a  journey  through  the 
southern  parts  of  France,  and  particularly  examined  the 
canal  of  Languedoc,  through  its  whole  course,  I  take  the  lib 
erty  of  sending  you  the  notes  I  made  on  the  spot,  as  you 
may  find  in  them  something,  perhaps,  which  may  be  turned 
to  account,  some  time  or  other,  in  the  prosecution  of  the 
Potomac  canal.  Being  merely  a  copy  from  my  travelling 
notes,  they  are  undigested  and  imperfect,  but  may  still 
perhaps  give  hints  capable  of  improvement  in  your 
mind.  .  .  . 

I  had  intended  to  have  written  a  word  to  your  Excellency 
on  the  subject  of  the  new  Constitution,  but  I  have  already 
spun  out  my  letter  to  an  immoderate  length.  I  will  just  ob 
serve,  therefore,  that  according  to  my  ideas,  there  is  a  great 
deal  of  good  in  it.  There  are  two  things,  however,  which  I 
dislike  strongly:  1.  The  want  of  a  declaration  of  rights.  I 


am  in  hopes  the  opposition  of  Virginia  will  remedy  this,  and 
produce  such  a  declaration.  2.  The  perpetual  reeligibility 
of  the  President.  This,,  I  fear,  will  make  that  an  office  for 
life,  first,  and  then  hereditary.  I  was  much  an  enemy  to 
monarchies  before  I  came  to  Europe.  I  am  ten  thousand 
times  more  so,  since  I  have  seen  what  they  are.  There  is 
scarcely  an  evil  known  in  these  countries,  which  may  not 
be  traced  to  their  king,  as  its  source,  nor  a  good,  which  is 
not  derived  from  the  small  fibres  of  republicanism  existing 
among  them.  I  can  further  say,  with  safety,  there  is  not  a 
crowned  head  in  Europe,  whose  talents  or  merits  would  en 
title  him  to  be  elected  a  vestryman  by  the  people  of  any 
parish  in  America.  However,  I  shall  hope,  that  before  there 
is  danger  of  this  change  taking  place  in  the  office  of  Presi 
dent,  the  good  sense  and  free  spirit  of  our  countrymen,  will 
make  the  changes  necessary  to  prevent  it. 

National  Credit 

To  Mr.  James  Madison 

PARIS,  May  3,  1788. 

Dear  Sir:  The  existence  of  a  nation  having  no  credit  is 
always  precarious.  The  credit  of  England  is  the  best. 
Their  paper  sells  at  par  on  the  exchange  of  Amsterdam  the 
moment  any  of  it  is  offered,  and  they  can  command  there 
any  sum  they  please.  The  reason  is,  that  they  never  borrow, 
without  establishing  taxes  for  the  payment  of  the  interest, 
and  they  never  yet  failed  one  day  in  that  payment.  The 
Emperor  and  Empress  have  good  credit  enough.  They  use 
it  little  and  have  been  ever  punctual.  This  country  cannot 
borrow  at  all  there;  for,  though  they  always  pay  their  in 
terest  within  the  year,  yet  it  is  often  some  months  behind. 



It  is  difficult  to  assign  to  our  credit  its  exact  station  in  this 
scale.  They  consider  us  as  the  most  certain  nation  on  earth 
for  the  principal,  but  they  see  that  we  borrow  of  them 
selves  to  pay  the  interest,  so  that  this  is  only  a  conversion 
of  their  interest  into  principal.  Our  paper,  for  this  reason, 
sells  for  from  four  to  eight  per  cent,  below  par,  on  the  ex 
change,  and  our  loans  are  negotiated  with  the  Patriots  only. 
But  the  whole  body  of  money-dealers,  Patriot  and  Stadt- 
holderian,  look  forward  to  our  new  government  with  a  great 
degree  of  partiality  and  interest.  They  are  disposed  to  have 
much  confidence  in  it,  and  it  was  the  prospect  of  its  estab 
lishment,  which  enabled  us  to  set  the  loan  of  last  year  into 
motion  again.  They  will  attend  steadfastly  to  its  first 
money  operations.  If  these  are  injudiciously  begun,  cor 
rection,  whenever  they  shall  be  corrected,  will  come  too  late. 
Our  borrowings  will  always  be  difficult  and  disadvantageous. 
If  they  begin  well,  our  credit  will  immediately  take  the  first 
station.  Equal  provision  for  the  interest,  adding  to  it  a  cer 
tain  prospect  for  the  principal,  will  give  us  a  preference  to 
all  nations,  the  English  not  excepted.  The  first  act  of  the 
new  government  should  be  some  operation,  whereby  they 
may  assume  to  themselves  this  station.  Their  European 
debts  form  a  proper  subject  for  this.  Digest  the  whole, 
public  and  private,  Dutch,  French,  and  Spanish,  into  a  table, 
showing  the  sum  of  interest  due  every  year,  and  the  portions 
of  principal  payable  the  same  year.  Take  the  most  certain 
branch  of  revenue,  and  one  which  shall  suffice  to  pay  the  in 
terest,  and  leave  such  a  surplus  as  may  accomplish  all  the 
payments  of  the  capital,  at  terms  somewhat  short  of  those 
at  which  they  will  become  due.  Let  the  surpluses  of  those 
years,  in  which  no  reimbursement  of  principal  falls,  be  ap 
plied  to  buy  up  our  paper  on  the  exchange  of  Amsterdam, 
and  thus  anticipate  the  demands  of  principal.  In  this  way, 
our  paper  will  be  kept  up  at  par;  and  this  alone  will  enable 



us  to  command  in  four  and  twenty  hours,  at  any  time,  on 
the  exchange  of  Amsterdam,  as  many  millions  as  that  capi 
tal  can  produce.  The  same  act  which  makes  this  provision 
for  the  existing  debts,  should  go  on  to  open  a  loan  to  their 
whole  amount;  the  produce  of  that  loan  to  be  applied,  as 
fast  as  received,  to  the  payment  of  such  parts  of  the  exist 
ing  debts  as  admit  of  payment.  The  rate  of  interest  to  be 
as  the  government  should  privately  instruct  their  agent,  be 
cause  it  must  depend  on  the  effect  these  measures  would 
have  on  the  exchange.  Probably  it  could  be  lowered  from 
time  to  time.  Honest  and  annual  publications  of  the  pay 
ments  made  will  inspire  confidence,  while  silence  would  con 
ceal  nothing  from  those  interested  to  know. 

Navigation  of  the  Mississippi 

To  John  Brown 

PARIS,  May  26,  1788. 

Dear  Sir:  The  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  was,  per 
haps,  the  strongest  trial  to  which  the  justice  of  the  federal 
government  could  be  put.  If  ever  they  thought  wrong 
about  it,  I  trust  they  have  got  to  rights,  I  should  think  it 
proper  for  the  western  country  to  defer  pushing  their  right 
to  that  navigation  to  extremity,  as  long  as  they  can  do  with 
out  it  tolerably;  but  that  the  moment  it  becomes  absolutely 
necessary  for  them,  it  will  become  the  duty  of  the  maritime 
States  to  push  it  to  every  extremity,  to  which  they  would 
their  own  right  of  navigating  the  Chesapeake,  the  Delaware, 
the  Hudson,  or  any  other  water.  A  time  of  peace  will  not 
be  the  surest  for  obtaining  this  object.  Those,  therefore, 
who  have  influence  in  the  new  country,  would  act  wisely  to 



endeavor  to  keep  things  quiet  till  the  western  parts  of  Eu 
rope  shall  be  engaged  in  war. 

On  Foreign  Affairs — Commerce 

To  General  Washington 

PARIS,  December  4,  1788. 

Sir:  I  have  seen,  with  infinite  pleasure,  our  new  Consti 
tution  accepted  by  eleven  States,  not  rejected  by  the 
twelfth,  and  that  the  thirteenth  happens  to  be  a  State  of 
the  least  importance.  It  is  true,  that  the  minorities  in  most 
of  the  accepting  States  have  been  very  respectable ;  so  much 
so  as  to  render  it  prudent,  were  it  not  otherwise  reasonable, 
to  make  some  sacrifice  to  them.  I  am  in  hopes,  that  the  an 
nexation  of  a  bill  of  rights  to  the  Constitution  will  alone 
draw  over  so  great  a  proportion  of  the  minorities  as  to  leave 
little  danger  in  the  opposition  of  the  residue;  and  that  this 
annexation  may  be  made  by  Congress  and  the  Assemblies, 
without  calling  a  convention,  which  might  endanger  the 
most  valuable  parts  of  the  system.  Calculation  has  con 
vinced  me  that  circumstances  may  arise,  and  probably  will 
arise,  wherein  all  the  resources  of  taxation  will  be  necessary 
for  the  safety  of  the  State.  For  though  I  am  decidedly  of 
opinion  we  should  take  no  part  in  European  quarrels,  but 
cultivate  peace  and  commerce  with  all,  yet  who  can  avoid 
seeing  the  source  of  war,  in  the  tyranny  of  those  nations, 
who  deprive  us  of  the  natural  right  of  trading  with  our 
neighbors?  The  produce  of  the  United  States  will  soon 
exceed  the  European  demand;  what  is  to  be  done  with  the 
surplus,  when  there  shall  be  one?  It  will  be  employed, 
without  question,  to  open,  by  force,  a  market  for  itself, 
with  those  placed  on  the  same  continent  with  us,  and  who 


wish  nothing  better.  Other  causes,  too,  are  obvious,  which 
may  involve  us  in  war,  and  war  requires  every  resource  of 
taxation  and  credit.  The  power  of  making  war  often  pre 
vents  it,  and  in  our  case  would  give  efficacy  to  our  desire  of 
peace.  If  the  new  government  wears  the  front  which  I 
hope  it  will,  I  see  no  impossibility  in  the  availing  ourselves 
of  the  wars  of  others,  to  open  the  other  parts  of  America  to 
our  commerce,  as  the  price  of  our  neutrality.  .  .  . 

In  every  event,  I  think  the  present  disquiet  will  end 
well.  The  nation  [France]  has  been  awaked  by  our 
Revolution,  they  feel  their  strength,  they  are  enlight 
ened,  their  lights  are  spreading,  and  they  will  not  retro 
grade.  The  first  States-General  may  establish  three  im 
portant  points,  without  opposition  from  the  court:  1.  Their 
own  periodical  convocation.  2.  Their  exclusive  right  of 
taxation  (which  has  been  confessed  by  the  king).  3.  The 
right  of  registering  laws,  and  of  previously  proposing 
amendments  to  them,  as  the  parliaments  have,  by  usurpation, 
been  in  the  habit  of  doing.  The  court  will  consent  to  this, 
from  its  hatred  to  the  parliaments,  and  from  the  desire  of 
having  to  do  with  one,  rather  than  many  legislatures.  If  the 
States  are  prudent,  they  will  not  aim  at  more  than  this  at 
first,  lest  they  should  shock  the  dispositions  of  the  court,  and 
even  alarm  the  public  mind,  which  must  be  left  to  open  itself 
by  degrees  to  successive  improvements.  These  will  follow, 
from  the  nature  of  things ;  how  far  they  can  proceed,  in  the 
end,  toward  a  thorough  reformation  of  abuse,  cannot  be 
foreseen.  In  my  opinion,  a  kind  of  influence  which  none  of 
their  plans  of  reform  take  into  account,  will  elude  them  all ; 
I  mean  the  influence  of  women,  in  the  Government.  The 
manners  of  the  nation  allow  them  to  visit,  alone,  all  persons 
in  office,  to  solicit  the  affairs  of  the  husband,  family,  or 
friends,  and  their  solicitations  bid  defiance  to  laws  and  reg 
ulations.  This  obstacle  may  seem  less  to  those  who,  like 



our  countrymen,  are  in  the  precious  habit  of  considering 
right,  as  a  barrier  against  all  solicitation.  Nor  can  such  an 
one,  without  the  evidence  of  his  own  eyes,  believe  in  the  des 
perate  state  to  which  things  are  reduced  in  this  country  from 
the  omnipotence  of  an  influence  which,  fortunately  for  the 
happiness  of  the  sex  itself,  does  not  endeavor  to  extend  it 
self  in  our  country  beyond  the  domestic  line.  .  .  . 

I  have  laid  my  shoulder  to  the  opening  of  the  markets  of 
this  country  to  our  produce,  and  rendering  its  transporta 
tion  a  nursery  for  our  seamen.  A  maritime  force  is  the 
only  one,  by  which  we  can  act  on  Europe.  Our  navigation 
law  (if  it  be  wise  to  have  any)  should  be  the  reverse  of  that 
of  England.  Instead  of  confining  importations  to  home- 
bottoms,  or  those  of  the  producing  nation,  I  think  we  should 
confine  exhortations  to  home-bottoms,  or  to  those  of  nations 
having  treaties  with  us.  Our  exportations  are  heavy,  and 
would  nourish  a  great  force  of  our  own,  or  be  a  tempting 
price  to  the  nation  to  whom  we  should  offer  a  participation 
of  it,  in  exchange  for  free  access  to  all  their  possessions. 
This  is  an  object  to  which  our  Government  alone  is  ade 
quate,  in  the  gross;  but  I  have  ventured  to  pursue  it  here, 
so  far  as  the  consumption  of  our  productions  by  this  coun 
try  extends.  Thus,  in  our  arrangements  relative  to  tobacco, 
none  can  be  received  here,  but  in  French  or  American  bot 
toms.  This  is  employment  for  near  two  thousand  sea 
men,  and  puts  nearly  that  number  of  British  out  of  employ. 
By  the  Arret  of  December,  1787,  it  was  provided,  that  our 
whale  oils  should  not  be  received  here,  but  in  French  or 
American  bottoms ;  and  by  later  regulations,  all  oils,  but 
those  of  France  and  America,  are  excluded.  This  will  put 
one  hundred  English  whale  vessels  immediately  out  of  em 
ploy,  and  one  hundred  and  fifty  erelong,  and  call  so  many 
of  French  and  American  into  service.  We  have  had  six 
thousand  seamen  formerly  in  this  business,  the  whole  of 



whom  we  have  been  likely  to  lose.  The  consumption  of  rice 
is  growing  fast  in  this  country,  and  that  of  Carolina  gain 
ing  ground  on  every  other  kind.  I  am  of  opinion,  the  whole 
of  the  Carolina  rice  can  be  consumed  here.  Its  transporta 
tion  employs  two  thousand  five  hundred  sailors,  almost  all  of 
them  English  at  present,  the  rice  being  deposited  at  Cowes, 
and  brought  from  thence  here.  It  would  be  dangerous  to 
confine  this  transportation  to  French  and  American  bottoms, 
the  ensuing  year,  because  they  will  be  much  engrossed  by 
the  transportation  of  wheat  and  flour  hither,  and  the  crop 
of  rice  might  lie  on  hand  for  want  of  vessels ;  but  I  see  no 
objections  to  the  extensions  of  our  principle  to  this  article 
also,  beginning  with  the  year  1790. 

American  Influence  on  the  French  Revolution 

To  Dr.  Price 

PARIS,  January  8,   1789. 

You  say  you  are  not  sufficiently  informed  about  the  nature 
and  circumstances  of  the  present  struggle  here.  Having 
been  on  the  spot  from  its  first  origin,  and  watched  its  move 
ments  as  an  uninterested  spectator,  with  no  other  bias  than 
a  love  of  mankind,  I  will  give  you  my  ideas  of  it.  Though 
celebrated  writers  of  this  and  other  countries  had  already 
sketched  good  principles  on  the  subject  of  government,  yet 
the  American  war  seems  first  to  have  awakened  the  think 
ing  part  of  this  nation  in  general  from  the  sleep  of  despot 
ism  in  which  they  were  sunk.  The  officers,  too,  who  had 
been  to  America,  were  mostly  young  men,  less  shackled  by 
habit  and  prejudice,  and  more  ready  to  assent  to  the  dictates 
of  common  sense  and  common  right.  They  came  back  im 
pressed  with  these.  The  press,  notwithstanding  its  shack- 


les,  began  to  disseminate  them ;  conversation,  too,  assumed 
new  freedom;  politics  became  the  theme  of  all  societies, 
male  and  female,  and  a  very  extensive  and  zealous  party 
was  formed,  which  may  be  called  the  Patriotic  party,  who, 
sensible  of  the  abusive  government  under  which  they  lived, 
longed  for  occasions  of  reforming  it.  This  party  compre 
hended  all  the  honesty  of  the  kingdom,  sufficiently  at  its 
leisure  to  think;  the  men  of  letters,  the  easy  bourgeois,  the 
young  nobility,  partly  from  reflection,  partly  from  mode; 
for  those  sentiments  became  a  matter  of  mode,  and  as  such 
united  most  of  the  young  women  to  the  party. 

On  Parti/ 

To  Francis  Hopkinson 

PARIS,  March   13,   1789. 

I  am  not  a  federalist,  because  I  never  submitted  the 
whole  system  of  my  opinions  to  the  creed  of  any  party  of 
men  whatever,  in  religion,  in  philosophy,  in  politics,  or  in 
anything  else,  where  I  was  capable  of  thinking  for  myself. 
Such  an  addiction,  is  the  last  degradation  of  a  free  and 
moral  agent.  If  I  could  not  go  to  heaven  but  with  a  party, 
I  would  not  go  there  at  all.  Therefore,  I  am  not  of  the 
party  of  federalists.  But  I  am  much  farther  from  that 
of  the  antifederalists.  ...  I  am  neither  federalist  nor 
antif ederalist ;  I  am  of  neither  party,  nor  yet  a  trimmer 
between  parties.  ...  I  never  had  an  opinion  in  politics 
or  religion,  which  I  was  afraid  to  own.  A  costive  reserve 
on  these  subjects  might  have  procured  me  more  esteem  from 
some  people,  but  less  from  myself.  My  great  wish  is,  to  go 
on  in  a  strict  but  silent  performance  of  my  duty;  to  avoid 
attracting  notice,  and  to  keep  my  name  out  of  newspapers, 



because  I  find  the  pain  of  a  little  censure,  even  when  it  is 
unfounded,  is  more  acute  than  the  pleasure  of  much  praise. 

On  the  Character  of  Washington 

To  Francis  Hopklnson 

PARIS,  March  13,  1789. 

I  would  wish  it  [the  Constitution]  not  to  be  altered  dur 
ing  the  life  of  our  great  leader,  whose  executive  talents  are 
superior  to  those,  I  believe,  of  any  man  in  the  world,  and 
who,  alone,  by  the  authority  of  his  name  and  the  confidence 
reposed  in  his  perfect  integrity,  is  fully  qualified  to  put  the 
new  government  so  under  way,  as  to  secure  it  against  the 
efforts  of  opposition.  But,  having  derived  from  our  error 
all  the  good  there  was  in  it,  I  hope  we  shall  correct  it,  the 
moment  we  can  no  longer  have  the  same  name  at  the  helm. 

To  General  Washington 

PARIS,  May  10,  1789- 

Sir:  The  details  you  are  so  good  as  to  give  me  on  the 
subject  of  the  navigation  of  the  waters  of  the  Potomac  and 
Ohio,  are  very  pleasing  to  me,  as  I  consider  the  union  of 
these  two  rivers,  as  among  the  strongest  links  of  connection 
between  the  eastern  and  western  sides  of  our  confederacy. 
It  will,  moreover,  add  to  the  commerce  of  Virginia,  in  par 
ticular,  all  the  upper  parts  of  the  Ohio  and  its  waters.  An 
other  vast  object,  and  of  much  less  difficulty,  is  to  add.  also, 
all  the  country  on  the  lakes  and  their  waters.  This  would 



enlarge  our  field  immensely,  and  would  certainly  be  effected 
by  a  union  of  the  upper  waters  of  the  Ohio  and  Lake  Erie. 
The  Big  Beaver  and  Cuyahoga  offer  the  most  direct  line, 
and  according  to  information  I  received  from  General 
Hand,  and  which  I  had  the  honor  of  writing  you  in  the  year 
1783,  the  streams  in  that  neighborhod  head  in  lagoons,  and 
the  country  is  flat.  With  respect  to  the  doubts  which  you 
say  are  entertained  by  some,  whether  the  upper  waters  of 
Potomac  can  be  rendered  capable  of  navigation  on  account 
of  the  falls  and  rugged  banks,  they  are  answered,  by  ob 
serving,  that  it  is  reduced  to  a  maxim,  that  whenever  there  is 
water  enough  to  float  a  bateau  there  may  be  navigation  for 
a  bateau.  Canals  and  locks  may  be  necessary,  and  they  are 
expensive,  but  I  hardly  know  what  expense  would  be  too 
great,  for  the  object  in  question.  Probably,  negotiations 
with  the  Indians,  perhaps  even  settlement,  must  precede 
the  execution  of  the  Cuyahoga  Canal.  The  States  of  Mary 
land  and  Virginia  should  make  a  common  object  of  it.  The 
navigation,  again,  between  Elizabeth  River  and  the  Sound, 
is  of  vast  importance,  and  in  my  opinion,  it  is  much  better 
that  these  should  be  done  at  public  than  private  expense. 

On  Political  Consistency 

To  General  Washington 

PARIS,  May  10,  178Q. 

I  am  in  great  pain  for  the  Marquis  de  La  Fayette.  His 
principles,  you  know,  are  clearly  with  the  people;  but 
having  been  elected  for  the  Noblesse  of  Auvergne,  they 
have  laid  him  under  express  instructions,  to  vote  for  the  de 
cision  by  orders  and  not  persons.  This  would  ruin  him  with 
the  Tiers  Etat,  and  it  is  not  possible  he  could  continue  long 



to  give  satisfaction  to  the  Noblesse.  I  have  not  hesitated  to 
press  on  him  to  burn  his  instructions,  and  follow  his  con 
science  as  the  only  sure  clew,  which  will  eternally  guide  a 
man  clear  of  all  doubts  and  inconsistencies.  If  he  cannot 
effect  a  conciliatory  plan,  he  will  surely  take  his  stand  man 
fully,  at  once  with  the  Tiers  Etat.  He  will  in  that  case  be 
what  he  pleases  with  them,  and  I  am  in  hopes  that  base  is 
now  too  solid  to  render  it  dangerous  to  be  mounted  on  it. 

On  Ms  Appointment  as  Secretary  of  State 

To  the  President 

CHESTERFIELD,  December  15,  1789. 

Sir:  I  have  received  at  this  place  the  honor  of  your  let 
ters  of  October  the  13th  and  November  the  30th,  and  am 
truly  flattered  by  your  nomination  of  me  to  the  very  digni 
fied  office  of  Secretary  of  State;  for  which,  permit  me  here 
to  return  you  my  humble  thanks.  Could  any  circumstance 
seduce  me  to  overlook  the  disproportion  between  its  duties 
and  my  talents,  it  would  be  the  encouragement  of  your 
choice.  But  when  I  contemplate  the  extent  of  that  office, 
embracing  as  it  does  the  principal  mass  of  domestic  admin 
istration,  together  with  the  foreign,  I  cannot  be  insensible 
of  my  inequality  to  it ;  and  I  should  enter  on  it  with  gloomy 
forebodings  from  the  criticisms  and  censures  of  a  public, 
just  indeed  in  their  intentions,  but  sometimes  misinformed 
and  misled,  and  always  too  respectable  to  be  neglected.  I 
c.innot  but  foresee  the  possibility  that  this  may  end  disa 
greeably  for  me,  who,  having  no  motive  to  public  service  but 
the  public  satisfaction,  would  certainly  retire  the  moment 
that  satisfaction  should  appear  to  languish.  On  the  other 
hand,  I  feel  a  degree  of  familiarity  with  the  duties  of  my 



present  office,  as  far  at  least  as  I  am  capable  of  understand 
ing  its  duties.  The  ground  I  have  already  passed  over,  en 
ables  me  to  see  my  way  into  that  which  is  before  me.  The 
change  of  government,  too,  taking  place  in  a  country  where 
it  is  exercised,  seems  to  open  a  possibility  of  procuring 
from  the  new  rulers,  some  new  advantages  in  commerce 
which  may  be  agreeable  to  our  countrymen.  So  that  as  far 
as  my  fears,  my  hopes,  or  my  inclinations  might  enter  into 
this  question,  I  confess  they  would  not  lead  me  to  prefer  a 

But  it  is  not  for  an  individual  to  choose  his  post.  You 
are  to  marshal  us  as  may  best  be  for  the  public  good;  and 
it  is  only  in  the  case  of  its  being  indifferent  to  you  that  I 
would  avail  myself  of  the  option  you  have  so  kindly  offered 
in  your  letter.  If  you  think  it  better  to  transfer  me  to  an 
other  post,  my  inclination  must  be  no  obstacle;  nor  shall  it 
be,  if  there  is  any  desire  to  suppress  the  office  I  now  hold, 
or  to  reduce  its  grade.  In  either  of  these  cases,  be  so  good 
only  as  to  signify  to  me  by  another  line  your  ultimate  wish, 
and  I  shall  conform  to  it  cordially.  If  it  should  be  to  re 
main  at  New  York,  my  chief  comfort  will  be  to  work  under 
your  eye,  my  only  shelter  the  authority  of  your  name,  and 
the  wisdom  of  measures  to  be  dictated  by  you  and  implicitly 
executed  by  me.  Whatever  you  may  be  pleased  to  decide,  I 
do  not  see  that  the  matters  which  have  called  me  hither,  will 
permit  me  to  shorten  the  stay  I  originally  asked;  that  is  to 
say,  to  set  out  on  my  journey  northward  till  the  month  of 
March.  As  early  as  possible  in  that  month,  I  shall  have  the 
honor  of  paying  my  respects  to  you  in  New  York.  In  the 
meantime,  I  have  that  of  tendering  you  the  homage  of 
those  sentiments  of  respectful  attachment  with  which  I  am, 
Sir,  your  most  obedient,  and  most  humble  servant. 



On  Hamilton  s  Finance — Post-roads 

To  James  Madison 

MONTICELLO,  March  6,  1790. 

Dear  Sir:  I  do  not  at  all  wonder  at  the  condition  in 
which  the  finances  of  the  United  States  are  found.  Hamil 
ton's  object  from  the  beginning,  was  to  throw  them  into 
forms  which  should  be  utterly  undecipherable.  I  ever  said 
he  did  not  understand  their  condition  himself,  nor  was 
able  to  give  a  clear  view  of  the  excess  of  our  debts  beyond 
our  credits,  nor  whether  we  were  diminishing  or  increasing 
the  debt.  My  own  opinion  was,  that  from  the  commence 
ment  of  this  Government  to  the  time  I  ceased  to  attend  to 
the  subject,  we  had  been  increasing  our  debt  about  a  million 
of  dollars  annually.  If  Mr.  Gallatin  would  undertake  to 
reduce  this  chaos  to  order,  present  us  with  a  clear  view  of 
our  finances,  and  put  them  into  a  form  as  simple  as  they 
will  admit,  he  will  merit  immortal  honor.  The  accounts  of 
the  United  States  ought  to  be,  and  may  be  made  as  simple 
as  those  of  a  common  farmer,  and  capable  of  being  under 
stood  by  common  farmers.  .  .  . 

P.  S. — Have  you  considered  all  the  consequences  of  your 
proposition  respecting  post-roads?  I  view  it  as  a  source 
of  boundless  patronage  to  the  Executive,  jobbing  to  mem 
bers  of  Congress  and  their  friends,  and  a  bottomless  abyss 
of  public  money.  You  will  begin  by  only  appropriating 
the  surplus  of  the  post-office  revenues ;  but  the  other  reve 
nues  will  soon  be  called  into  their  aid,  and  it  will  be  a  source 
of  eternal  scramble  among  the  members,  who  can  get  the 
most  money  wasted  in  their  State;  and  they  will  always  get 
most  who  are  meanest.  We  have  thought,  hitherto,  that  the 
roads  of  a  State  could  not  be  so  well  administered  even  by 



the  State  legislature  as  by  the  magistracy  of  the  county,  on 
the  spot.  How  will  they  be  when  a  member  of  New  Hamp 
shire  is  to  mark  out  a  road  for  Georgia  ?  Does  the  power 
to  establish  post-roads,  given  you  by  the  Constitution,  mean 
that  you  shall  make  the  roads,  or  only  select  from  those  al 
ready  made,  those  on  which  there  shall  be  a  post?  If  the 
term  be  equivocal  (and  I  really  do  not  think  it  so),  which 
is  the  safest  construction?  That  which  permits  a  majority 
of  Congress  to  go  to  cutting  down  mountains  and  bridging 
of  rivers,  or  the  other,  which,  if  too  restricted,  may  be  re 
ferred  to  the  States  for  amendment,  securing  still  due  meas 
ures  and  proportion  among  us,  and  providing  some  means 
of  information  to  the  members  of  Congress  tantamount  to 
that  ocular  inspection,  which,  even  in  our  county  determina 
tions,  the  magistrate  finds  cannot  be  supplied  by  any  other 
evidence?  The  fortification  of  harbors  was  liable  to  great 
objection.  But  national  circumstances  furnished  some 
color.  In  this  case  there  is  none.  The  roads  of  America 
are  the  best  in  the  world  except  those  of  France  and  Eng 
land.  But  does  the  state  of  our  population,  the  extent  of 
our  internal  commerce,  the  want  of  sea  and  river  navigation, 
call  for  such  expense  on  roads  here,  or  are  our  means  ade 
quate  to  it?  Think  of  all  this,  and  a  great  deal  more  which 
your  good  judgment  will  suggest,  and  pardon  my  freedom. 

On  the  Control  of  the  Mississippi 

To  William  Carmichael 

NEW  YORK,  August  2,  1790. 

The  unsettled  state  of  our  dispute  with  Spain,  may  give  a 
turn  to  it  very  different  from  what  we  would  wish.  As  it  is 
important  that  you  should  be  fully  apprised  of  our  way  of 



thinking  on  this  subject,  I  have  sketched,  in  the  enclosed 
paper,  general  heads  of  consideration  arising  from  present 
circumstances.  These  will  be  readily  developed  by  your 
own  reflections,  and  in  conversations  with  Colonel  Hum 
phreys,  who,  possessing  the  sentiments  of  the  executive  on 
this  subject,  being  well  acquainted  with  the  circumstances 
of  the  Western  country  in  particular,  and  of  the  state  of 
our  affairs  in  general,  comes  to  Madrid  expressly  for  the 
purpose  of  giving  you  a  thorough  communication  of  them. 
He  will,  therefore,  remain  there  as  many  days  or  weeks  as 
may  be  necessary  for  this  purpose.  With  this  information, 
written  and  oral,  you  will  be  enabled  to  meet  the  minister 
in  conversations  on  the  subject  of  the  navigation  of  the  Mis 
sissippi,  to  which  we  wish  you  to  lead  his  attention  imme 
diately.  Impress  him  thoroughly  with  the  necessity  of  an 
early,  and  even  an  immediate  settlement  of  this  matter,  and 
of  a  return  to  the  field  of  negotiation  for  this  purpose;  and 
though  it  must  be  done  delicately,  yet  he  must  be  made  to 
understand  unequivocally  that  a  resumption  of  the  negotia 
tion  is  not  desired  on  our  part,  unless  he  can  determine,  in 
the  first  opening  of  it,  to  yield  the  immediate  and  full  en 
joyment  of  that  navigation.  (I  say  nothing  of  the  claims 
of  Spain  to  our  territory  north  of  the  thirty-first  degree,  and 
east  of  the  Mississippi.  They  never  merited  the  respect  of 
an  answer;  and  you  know  it  has  been  admitted  at  Madrid, 
that  they  were  not  to  be  maintained.)  It  may  be  asked, 
What  need  of  negotiation,  if  the  navigation  is  to  be  ceded  at 
all  events  ?  You  know  that  the  navigation  cannot  be  prac 
tised  without  a  port,  where  the  sea  and  river  vessels  may 
meet  and  exchange  loads,  and  where  those  employed  about 
them  may  be  safe  and  unmolested.  The  right  to  use  a  thing, 
comprehends  a  right  to  the  means  necessary  to  its  use,  and 
without  which  it  would  be  useless.  The  fixing  on  a  proper 
port,  and  the  degree  of  freedom  it  is  to  enjoy  in  its  opera- 



tions,  will  require  negotiation,  and  be  governed  by  events. 
There  is  danger,  indeed,  that  even  the  unavoidable  delay  of 
sending  a  negotiator  here,  may  render  the  mission  too  late 
for  the  preservation  of  peace.  It  is  impossible  to  answer 
for  the  forbearance  of  our  Western  citizens.  We  endeavor 
to  quiet  them  with  the  expectation  of  an  attainment  of  their 
rights  by  peaceable  means.  But  should  they,  in  a  moment 
of  impatience,  hazard  others,  there  is  no  saying  how  far  we 
may  be  led ;  for  neither  themselves  nor  their  rights  will  ever 
be  abandoned  by  us. 

You  will  be  pleased  to  observe;  that  we  press  these  mat 
ters  warmly  and  firmly,  under  this  idea,  that  the  war  between 
Spain  and  Great  Britain  will  be  begun  before  you  receive 
this ;  and  such  a  moment  must  not  be  lost.  But  should  an 
accommodation  take  place,  we  retain,  indeed,  the  same  ob 
ject  and  the  same  resolutions  unalterably;  but  your  discre 
tion  will  suggest,  that  in  that  event,  they  must  be  pressed 
more  softly,  and  that  patience  and  persuasion  must  temper 
your  conferences,  till  either  these  may  prevail,  or  some  other 
circumstance  turn  up,  which  may  enable  us  to  use  other 
means  for  the  attainment  of  an  object  which  we  are  deter 
mined,  in  the  end,  to  obtain  at  every  risk. 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  with  great  esteem,  dear  sir,  your 
most  obedient  and  most  humble  servant. 

On  the  Constitutionality  of  a  National  Bank 

FEBRUARY  15,  1791. 

The   bill   for   establishing   a   National   Bank   undertakes 
among  other  things : 

1.  To  form  the  subscribers  into  a  corporation. 

2.  To  enable  them  in  their  corporate  capacities  to  receive 
grants  of  land;  and  so  far  is  against  the  laws  of  Mortmain. 



3.  To  make  alien  subscribers  capable  of  holding  lands ; 
and  so  far  is  against  the  laws  of  alienage. 

4.  To  transmit  these  lands,  on  the  death  of  a  proprietor, 
to  a  certain  line  of  successors;  and  so  far  changes  the  course 
of  Descents. 

5.  To  put  the  lands  out  of  the  reach  of  forfeiture  or  es 
cheat;  and  so  far  is  against  the  laws  of  Forfeiture  and  Es 

6.  To  transmit  personal  chattels  to  successors  in  a  certain 
line;  and  so  far  is  against  the  laws  of  Distribution. 

7.  To  give  them  the  sole  and  exclusive  right  of  banking 
under  the  national  authority;  and  so  far  is  against  the  laws 
of  Monopoly. 

8.  To  communicate  to  them  a  power  to  make  laws  para 
mount  to  the  laws  of  the  States ;  for  so  they  must  be  con 
strued,  to  protect  the  institution   from  the  control  of  the 
State  legislatures ;  and  so,  probably,  they  will  be  construed. 

I  consider  the  foundation  of  the  Constitution  as  laid  on 
this  ground :  That  "  all  powers  not  delegated  to  the  United 
States,  by  the  Constitution,  nor  prohibited  by  it  to  the  States, 
are  reserved  to  the  States  or  to  the  people."  (Xllth 
amendment.)  To  take  a  single  step  beyond  the  boundaries 
thus  specially  drawn  around  the  powers  of  Congress,  is  to 
take  possession  of  a  boundless  field  of  power,  no  longer 
susceptible  of  any  definition. 

The  incorporation  of  a  bank,  and  the  powers  assumed  by 
this  bill,  have  not,  in  my  opinion,  been  delegated  to  the 
United  States,  by  the  Constitution. 

I.  They  are  not  among  the  powers  specially  enumerated: 
for  these  1st.  A  power  to  lay  taxes  for  the  purpose 
of  paying  the  debts  of  the  United  States ;  but  no  debt  is 
paid  by  this  bill,  nor  any  tax  laid.  .  .  . 

2d.  "  To  borrow  money."  But  this  bill  neither  borrows 
money  nor  insures  the  borrowing  it.  ... 



3d.  To  "  regulate  commerce  with  foreign  nations,  and 
among  the  States,  and  with  the  Indian  tribes."  To  erect 
a  bank  and  to  regulate  commerce,  are  very  different  acts. 
.  .  .  Still  less  are  these  powers  covered  by  any  other  of 
the  special  enumerations. 

II.  Xor  are  they  within  either  of  the  general  phrases, 
which  are  the  two  following: 

1.  To  lay  taxes  to  provide  for  the  general  welfare  of  the 
United  States,  that  is  to  say,  "  to  lay  taxes  for  the  purpose 
of  providing  for  the  general  welfare."  For  the  laying  of 
taxes  is  the  power,  and  the  general  welfare  the  purpose  for 
which  the  power  is  to  be  exercised.  They  are  not  to  lay 
taxes  ad  libitum  for  any  purpose  they  please;  but  only  to 
pay  the  debts  or  provide  for  the  welfare  of  the  Union.  In 
like  manner,  they  are  not  to  do  anything  they  please  to  pro 
vide  for  the  general  welfare,  but  only  to  lay  taxes  for  that 
purpose.  To  consider  the  latter  phrase,  not  as  describing 
the  purpose  of  the  first,  but  as  giving  a  distinct  and  inde 
pendent  power  to  do  any  act  they  please,  which  might  be 
for  the  good  of  the  Union,  would  render  all  the  preceding 
and  subsequent  enumerations  of  power  completely  useless. 

It  would  reduce  the  whole  instrument  to  a  single  phrase, 
that  of  instituting  a  Congress  with  power  to  do  whatever 
would  be  for  the  good  of  the  United  States;  and,  as  they 
would  be  the  sole  judges  of  the  good  or  evil,  it  would  be 
also  a  power  to  do  whatever  evil  they  please. 

It  is  an  established  rule  of  construction  where  a  phrase 
will  bear  either  of  two  meanings,  to  give  it  that  which  will 
allow  some  meaning  to  the  other  parts  of  the  instrument, 
and  not  that  which  would  render  all  the  others  useless. 
Certainly  no  such  universal  power  was  meant  to  be  given 
them.  It  was  intended  to  lace  them  up  straitly  within  the 
enumerated  powers,  and  those  without  which,  as  means, 
these  powers  could  not  be  carried  into  effect.  It  is  known 



that  the  very  power  now  proposed  as  a  means  was  rejected 
as  an  end  by  the  Convention  which  formed  the  Constitution. 
A  proposition  was  made  to  them  to  authorize  Congress  to 
open  canals,  and  an  amendatory  one  to  empower  them  to 
incorporate.  But  the  whole  was  rejected,  and  one  of  the 
reasons  for  rejection  urged  in  debate  was,  that  then  they 
would  have  a  power  to  erect  a  bank,  which  would  render  the 
great  cities,  where  there  were  prejudices  and  jealousies  on 
the  subject,  adverse  to  the  reception  of  the  Constitution. 

2.  The  second  general  phrase  is,  "  to  make  all  laws  neces 
sary  and  proper  for  carrying  into  execution  the  enumerated 
powers."  But  they  can  all  be  carried  into  execution  without 
a  bank.  A  bank  therefore  is  not  necessary,  and  consequent 
ly  not  authorized  by  this  phrase. 

It  has  been  urged  that  a  bank  will  give  great  facility  or 
convenience  in  the  collection  of  taxes.  Suppose  this  were 
true:  yet  the  Constitution  allows  only  the  means  which  are 
"  necessary,"  not  those  which  are  merely  "  convenient  "  for 
effecting  the  enumerated  powers.  If  such  a  latitude  of  con 
struction  be  allowed  to  this  phrase  as  to  give  any  non-enu 
merated  power,  it  will  go  to  every  one,  for  there  is  not  one 
which  ingenuity  may  not  torture  into  a  convenience  in  some 
instance  or  other,  to  some  one  of  so  long  a  list  of  enumer 
ated  powers.  It  would  swallow  up  all  the  delegated  powers, 
and  reduce  the  whole  to  one  power,  as  before  observed. 
Therefore  it  was  that  the  Constitution  restrained  them  to 
the  necessary  means,  that  is  to  say,  to  those  means  without 
which  the  grant  of  power  would  be  nugatory.  .  .  . 

Can  it  be  thought  that  the  Constitution  intended  that  for 
a  shade  or  two  of  convenience,  more  or  less,  Congress  should 
be  authorized  to  break  down  the  most  ancient  and  funda 
mental  laws  of  the  several  States ;  such  as  those  against 
Mortmain,  the  laws  of  Alienage,  the  rules  of  descent,  the 
acts  of  distribution,  the  laws  of  escheat  and  forfeiture,  the 



laws  of  monopoly?  Nothing  but  a  necessity  invincible  by 
any  other  means,  can  justify  such  a  prostitution  of  laws, 
which  constitute  the  pillars  of  our  whole  system  of  juris 
prudence.  Will  Congress  be  too  straitlaced  to  carry  the 
Constitution  into  honest  effect,  unless  they  may  pass  over 
the  foundation-laws  of  the  State  government  for  the  slight 
est  convenience  of  theirs? 

The  negative  of  the  President  is  the  shield  provided  by 
the  Constitution  to  protect  against  the  invasions  of  the  leg 
islature:  1.  The  right  of  the  Executive.  2.  Of  the  Ju 
diciary.  3.  Of  the  States  and  State  legislatures.  The 
present  is  the  case  of  a  right  remaining  exclusively  with  the 
States,  and  consequently  one  of  those  intended  by  the  Con 
stitution  to  be  placed  under  its  protection. 

It  must  be  added,  however,  that  unless  the  President's 
mind  on  a  view  of  everything  which  is  urged  for  and 
against  this  bill,  is  tolerably  clear  that  it  is  unauthorized 
by  the  Constitution ;  if  the  pro  and  the  con  hang  so  even  as 
to  balance  his  judgment,  a  just  respect  for  the  wisdom  of 
the  legislature  would  naturally  decide  the  balance  in  favor 
of  their  opinion.  It  is  chiefly  for  cases  where  they  are 
clearly  misled  by  error,  ambition,  or  interest,  that  the  Con 
stitution  has  placed  a  check  in  the  negative  of  the  President. 

On  Frankliniana 

PHILADELPHIA,  February  19,  1791- 

Dear  Sir:  I  feel  both  the  wish  and  the  duty  to  commu 
nicate,  in  compliance  with  your  request,  whatever,  within 
my  knowledge,  might  render  justice  to  the  memory  of  our 
great  countryman,  Dr.  Franklin,  in  which  Philosophy  has 



to  deplore  one  of  its  principal  luminaries  extinguished.  But 
my  opportunities  of  knowing  the  interesting  facts  of  his 
life,  have  not  been  equal  to  my  desire  of  making  them 
known.  I  could,  indeed,  relate  a  number  of  those  bon- 
mots,  with  which  he  used  to  charm  every  society,  having 
heard  many  of  them.  But  these  are  not  your  object.  Par 
ticulars  of  greater  dignity  happened  not  to  occur  during  his 
stay  of  nine  months,  after  my  arrival  in  France. 

A  little  before  that,  Argand  had  invented  his  celebrated 
lamp,  in  which  the  flame  is  spread  into  a  hollov/  cylinder, 
and  thus  brought  into  contact  with  the  air  within  as  well  as 
without.  Dr.  Franklin  had  been  on  the  point  of  the 
same  discovery.  The  idea  had  occurred  to  him;  but  he  had 
tried  a  bulrush  as  a  wick,  which  did  not  succeed.  His  oc 
cupations  did  not  permit  him  to  repeat  and  extend  his  trials 
to  the  introduction  of  a  larger  column  of  air  than  could  pass 
through  the  stem  of  a  bulrush. 

The  animal  magnetism,  too,  of  the  maniac  Mesmer,  had 
just  received  its  death  wound  from  his  hand  in  conjunction 
with  his  brethren  of  the  learned  committee  appointed  to  un 
veil  that  compound  of  fraud  and  folly.  But  after  this, 
nothing  very  interesting  was  before  the  public,  either  in 
philosophy  or  politics,  during  his  stay;  and  he  was  prin 
cipally  occupied  in  winding  up  his  affairs  there. 

I  can  only  therefore  testify  in  general,  that  there  ap 
peared  to  me  more  respect  and  veneration  attached  to  the 
character  of  Dr.  Franklin  in  France,  than  to  that  of  any 
other  person  in  the  same  country,  foreign  or  native.  I  had 
opportunities  of  knowing  particularly  how  far  these  senti 
ments  were  felt  by  the  foreign  ambassadors  and  ministers 
at  the  court  of  Versailles.  The  fable  of  his  capture  by  the 
Algerines,  propagated  by  the  English  newspapers,  excited 
no  uneasiness,  as  it  was  seen  at  once  to  be  a  dish  cooked  up 
to  the  palate  of  their  readers.  But  nothing  could  exceed 



the  anxiety  of  his  diplomatic  brethren,  on  a  subsequent  re 
port  of  his  death,  which,  though  premature,  bore  some 
marks  of  authenticity. 

I  found  the  ministers  of  France  equally  impressed  with 
the  talents  and  integrity  of  Dr.  Franklin.  The  Count  de 
Vergennes  particularly  gave  me  repeated  and  unequivocal 
demonstrations  of  his  entire  confidence  in  him. 

When  he  left  Passy,  it  seemed  as  if  the  village  had  lost 
its  patriarch.  On  taking  leave  of  the  court,  which  he  did  by 
letter,  the  King  ordered  him  to  be  handsomely  compli 
mented,  and  furnished  him  with  a  litter  and  mules  of  his 
own,  the  only  kind  of  conveyance  the  state  of  his  health 
could  bear. 

No  greater  proof  of  his  estimation  in  France  can  be 
given  than  the  late  letters  of  condolence  on  his  death,  from 
the  National  Assembly  of  that  country,  and  the  community 
of  Paris,  to  the  President  of  the  United  States  and  to  Con 
gress,  and  their  public  mourning  on  that  event.  It  is,  I  be 
lieve,  the  first  instance  of  that  homage  having  been  paid 
by  a  public  body  of  one  nation  to  a  private  citizen  of 

His  death  was  an  affliction  which  was  to  happen  to  us  at 
some  time  or  other.  We  have  reason  to  be  thankful  he  was 
so  long  spared;  that  the  most  useful  life  should  be  the  long 
est  also;  that  it  was  protracted  so  far  beyond  the  ordinary 
span  allotted  to  man,  as  to  avail  us  of  his  wisdom  in  the 
establishment  of  our  own  freedom,  and  to  bless  him  with  a 
view  of  its  dawn  in  the  east,  where  they  seemed,  till  now, 
to  have  learned  everything,  but  how  to  be  free. 

The  succession  to  Dr.  Franklin,  at  the  Court  of  France, 
was  an  excellent  school  of  humility.  On  being  presented  ta 
any  one  as  the  minister  of  America,  the  commonplace  ques 
tion  used  in  such  cases  was,  "  c'est  vous,  Monsieur,  qui  rem- 
place  le  Docteur  Franklin?  "  "  it  is  you,  sir,  who  replace 



Dr.  Franklin?"  I  generally  answered,  "no  one  can  re 
place  him,  Sir;  I  am  only  his  successor." 

These  small  offerings  to  the  memory  of  our  great  and 
dear  friend,  whom  time  will  be  making  greater  while  it  is 
sponging  us  from  its  records,  must  be  accepted  by  you,  Sir, 
in  that  spirit  of  love  and  veneration  for  him,  in  which  they 
are  made;  and  not  according  to  their  insignificance  in  the 
eyes  of  a  world,  who  did  not  want  this  mite  to  fill  up  the 
measure  of  his  worth. 

I  pray  you  to  accept,  in  addition,  assurances  of  the  sin 
cere  esteem  and  respect  with  which  I  have  the  honor  to  be, 
sir,  most  obedient,  and  most  humble  servant. 

On  the  Control  of  the  Mississippi 

To  William  Carmichael 

PHILADELPHIA,  March   12,   179*. 

We  cannot  omit  this  occasion  of  urging  on  the  court  of 
Madrid,  the  necessity  of  hastening  a  final  acknowledgment 
of  our  right  to  navigate  the  Mississippi;  a  right  which  has 
been  long  suspended  in  exercise,  with  extreme  inconvenience 
on  our  part,  merely  with  a  desire  of  reconciling  Spain  to 
what  it  is  impossible  for  us  to  relinquish.  An  accident  at 
this  day,  like  that  now  complained  of,  would  put  further 
parley  beyond  our  power;  yet  to  such  accidents  we  are 
every  day  exposed  by  the  irregularities  of  their  officers,  and 
the  impatience  of  our  citizens.  Should  any  spark  kindle 
these  dispositions  of  our  borderers  into  a  flame,  we  are  in 
volved  beyond  recall  by  the  eternal  principles  of  justice  to 
our  citizens,  which  we  will  never  abandon.  In  such  an 
event,  Spain  cannot  possibly  gain,  and  what  may  she  not 
lose  ? 



A  Letter  of  Explanation 

To  John  Adams 

PHILADELPHIA,  July  17,  1791- 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  a  dozen  times  taken  up  my  pen  to  write 
to  you,  and  as  often  laid  it  down  again,  suspended  between 
opposing  considerations.  I  determined,  however,  to  write 
from  a  conviction  that  truth,  between  candid  minds,  can 
never  do  harm.  The  first  of  Paine's  pamphlets  on  the 
rights  of  man,  which  came  to  hand  here,  belonged  to  Mr. 
Beckley.  He  lent  it  to  Mr.  Madison,  who  lent  it  to  me; 
and  while  I  was  reading  it,  Mr.  Beckley  called  on  me  for  it, 
and,  as  I  had  not  finished  it,  he  desired  me,  as  soon  as  I 
should  have  done  so,  to  send  it  to  Mr.  Jonathan  B.  Smith, 
whose  brother  meant  to  reprint  it.  I  finished  reading  it, 
and,  as  I  had  no  acquaintance  with  Mr.  Jonathan  B.  Smith, 
propriety  required  that  I  should  explain  to  him  why  I,  a 
stranger  to  him,  sent  him  the  pamphlet.  I  accordingly 
wrote  a  note  of  compliment,  informing  him  that  I  did  it  at 
the  desire  of  Mr.  Beckley,  and,  to  take  off  a  little  of  the 
dryness  of  the  note,  I  added  that  I  was  glad  it  was  to  be  re 
printed  here,  and  that  something  was  to  be  publicly  said 
against  the  political  heresies  which  had  sprung  up  among 
us,  etc.  I  thought  so  little  of  this  note,  that  I  did  not  even 
keep  a  copy  of  it;  nor  ever  heard  a  tittle  more  of  it,  till,  the 
week  following,  I  was  thunderstruck  with  seeing  it  come 
out  at  the  head  of  the  pamphlet.  I  hoped,  however,  it  would 
not  attract  notice.  But  I  found,  on  my  return  from  a  jour 
ney  of  a  month,  that  a  writer  came  forward,  under  the  sig 
nature  of  Publicola,  attacking  not  only  the  author  and  prin 
ciples  of  the  pamphlet,  but  myself  as  its  sponsor,  by  name. 
Soon  after  came  hosts  of  other  writers,  defending  the  pam- 



phlet,  and  attacking  you,  by  name,  as  the  writer  of  Pub- 
licola.  Thus  were  our  names  thrown  on  the  public  stage  as 
public  antagonists.  That  you  and  I  differ  in  our  ideas  of 
the  best  form  of  government,  is  well  known  to  us  both;  but 
we  have  differed  as  friends  should  do,  respecting  the  purity 
of  each  other's  motives,  and  confining  our  difference  of 
opinion  to  private  conversation.  And  I  can  declare  with 
truth,  in  the  presence  of  the  Almighty,  that  nothing  was 
further  from  my  intention  or  expectation  than  to  have 
either  my  own  or  your  name  brought  before  the  public  on 
this  occasion.  The  friendship  and  confidence  which  have  so 
long  existed  between  us,  required  this  explanation  from  me, 
and  I  know  you  too  well  to  fear  any  misconstruction  of  the 
motives  of  it.  Some  people  here,  who  would  wish  me  to  be, 
or  to  be  thought,  guilty  of  improprieties,  have  suggested 
that  I  was  Agricola,  that  I  was  Brutus,  etc.,  etc.  I  never 
did  in  my  life,  either  by  myself  or  by  any  other,  have  a 
sentence  of  mine  inserted  in  a  newspaper  without  putting 
my  name  to  it;  and  I  believe  I  never  shall. 

On  a  National  Indian  Policy 

To  General  Knox 

PHILADELPHIA,  August  10,   1791- 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  now  the  honor  to  return  you  the  pe 
tition  of  Mr.  Moultrie  on  behalf  of  the  South  Carolina 
Yazoo  Company.  Without  noticing  that  some  of  the  high 
est  functions  of  sovereignty  are  assumed  in  the  very  pipers 
which  he  annexes  as  his  justification,  I  am  of  opinion  that 
Government  should  firmly  maintain  this  ground;  that  the 
Indians  have  a  right  to  the  occupation  of  their  lands,  inde 
pendent  of  the  States  within  whose  chartered  lines  they 



happen  to  be;  that  until  they  cede  them  by  treaty  or  other 
transaction  equivalent  to  a  treaty,  no  act  of  a  State 
can  give  a  right  to  such  lands;  that  neither  under  the 
present  Constitution,  nor  the  ancient  confederation,  had 
any  State  or  person  a  right  to  treat  with  the  Indians,  with 
out  the  consent  of  the  General  Government;  that  that  con 
sent  has  never  been  given  to  any  treaty  for  the  cession  of 
the  lands  in  question ;  that  the  Government  is  determined  to 
exert  all  its  energy  for  the  patronage  and  protection  of  the 
rights  of  the  Indians,  and  the  preservation  of  peace  be 
tween  the  United  States  and  them ;  and  that  if  any  settle 
ments  are  made  on  lands  not  ceded  by  them,  without  the  pre 
vious  consent  of  the  United  States,  the  Government  will 
think  itself  bound,  not  only  to  declare  to  the  Indians  that 
such  settlements  are  without  the  authority  or  protection  of 
the  United  States,  but  to  remove  them  also  by  the  public 

On  Obligations  and  Discomforts  of  Public  Office 

To  the  President  of  the  United  States 

PHILADELPHIA,  May  23,  1792. 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  determined  to  make  the  subject  of  a 
letter  what  for  some  time  past  has  been  a  subject  of  in 
quietude  to  my  mind,  without  having  found  a  good  occasion 
of  disbursing  itself  to  you  in  conversation,  during  the 
busy  scenes  which  occupied  you  here.  Perhaps,  too,  you 
may  be  able  in  your  present  situation,  or  on  the  road,  to 
give  it  more  time  and  reflection  than  you  could  do  here  at 
any  moment. 

When  you  first  mentioned  to  me  your  purpose  of  retiring 
from  the  Government,  though  I  felt  all  the  magnitude  of  the 



event,  I  was  in  a  considerable  degree  silent.  I  knew  that,  to 
such  a  mind  as  yours,  persuasion  was  idle  and  impertinent; 
that  before  forming  your  decision  you  had  weighed  all  the 
reasons  for  and  against  the  measure,  had  made  up  your 
mind  on  full  view  of  them,  and  that  there  could  be  little 
hope  of  changing  the  result.  Pursuing  my  reflections,  too, 
I  knew  we  were  some  day  to  try  to  walk  alone,  and  if  the 
essay  should  be  made  while  you  should  be  alive  and  look 
ing  on,  AVC  should  derive  confidence  from  that  circum 
stance,  and  resource,  if  it  failed.  The  public  mind,  too,  was 
calm  and  confident,  and  therefore  in  a  favorable  state  for 
making  the  experiment.  Had  no  change  of  circumstances 
intervened,  I  should  not,  with  any  hopes  of  success,  have 
now  ventured  to  propose  to  you  a  change  of  purpose.  But 
the  public  mind  is  no  longer  confident  and  serene ;  and  that 
from  causes  in  which  you  are  no  ways  personally  mixed. 
Though  these  causes  have  been  hackneyed  in  the  public  pa 
pers  in  detail,  it  may  not  be  amiss,  in  order  to  calculate  the 
effect  they  are  capable  of  producing,  to  take  a  view  of  them 
in  the  mass,  giving  to  each  the  form,  real  or  imaginary, 
under  which  they  have  been  presented. 

It  has  been  urged,  then,  that  a  public  debt,  greater  than 
we  can  possibly  pay,  before  other  causes  of  adding  new  debt 
to  it  will  occur,  has  been  artificially  created  by  adding  to 
gether  the  whole  amount  of  the  debtor  and  creditor  sides  of 
accounts,  instead  of  only  taking  their  balances,  which  could 
have  been  paid  off  in  a  short  time ;  that  this  accumulation  of 
debt  has  taken  forever  out  of  our  power  those  easy  sources 
of  revenue  which,  applied  to  the  ordinary  necessities  and 
exigencies  of  government,  would  have  answered  them  ha 
bitually,  and  covered  us  from  habitual  murmurings  against 
taxes  and  tax-gatherers,  reserving  extraordinary  calls  for 
those  extraordinary  occasions  which  would  animate  the 
people  to  meet  them;  that  though  the  calls  for  money  have 



been  no  greater  than  we  must  expect  generally,  for  the 
same  or  equivalent  exigencies,  yet  we  are  already  obliged 
to  strain  the  impost  till  it  produces  clamor,  and  will  produce 
evasion  and  war  on  our  own  citizens  to  collect  it,  and  even 
to  resort  to  an  excise  law  of  odious  character  with  the  peo 
ple,  partial  in  its  operation,  unproductive  unless  enforced 
by  arbitrary  and  vexatious  means,  and  committing  the  au 
thority  of  the  Government  in  parts  where  resistance  is  most 
probable  and  coercion  least  practicable.  They  cite  propo 
sitions  in  Congress,  and  suspect  other  projects  on  foot  still 
to  increase  the  mass  of  debt.  They  say,  that  by  borrowing 
at  two-thirds  of  the  interest,  we  might  have  paid  off  the 
principal  in  two-thirds  of  the  time;  but  that  from  this  we 
are  precluded  by  its  being  made  irredeemable  but  in  small 
portions  and  long  terms ;  that  this  irredeemable  quality 
was  given  it  for  the  avowed  purpose  of  inviting  its  trans 
fer  to  foreign  countries.  They  predict  that  this  transfer 
of  the  principal,  when  completed,  will  occasion  an  exporta 
tion  of  three  millions  of  dollars  annually  for  the  interest, 
a  drain  of  coin,  of  which,  as  there  has  been  no  examples, 
no  calculation  can  be  made  of  its  consequences :  that  the 
banishment  of  our  coin  will  be  complicated  by  the  creation 
of  ten  millions  of  paper-money,  in  the  form  of  bank-bills 
now  issuing  into  circulation.  They  think  the  ten  or 
twelve  per  cent,  annual  profit  paid  to  the  lenders  of  this 
paper  medium  taken  out  of  the  pockets  of  the  people, 
who  would  have  had  without  interest  the  coin  it  is  ban 
ishing:  that  all  the  capital  employed  in  paper  speculation 
is  barren  and  useless,  producing,  like  that  on  a  gaming 
table,  no  accession  to  itself,  and  is  withdrawn  from  com 
merce  and  agriculture,  where  it  would  have  produced  addi 
tion  to  the  common  mass:  that  it  nourishes  in  our  citizens 
habits  of  vice  and  idleness,  instead  of  industry  and  moral 
ity:  that  it  has  furnished  effectual  means  of  corrupting 



such  a  portion  of  the  legislature  as  turns  the  balance  be 
tween  the  honest  voters,  whichever  way  it  is  directed:  that 
this  corrupt  squadron,  deciding  the  voice  of  the  legislature, 
have  manifested  their  dispositions  to  get  rid  of  the  limita 
tions  imposed  by  the  Constitution  on  the  general  legislature, 
limitations,  on  the  faith  of  which,  the  States  acceded  to 
that  instrument:  that  the  ultimate  object  of  all  this  is  to 
prepare  the  way  for  a  change  from  the  present  republican 
form  of  government  to  that  of  a  monarchy,  of  which  the 
English  Constitution  is  to  be  the  model:  that  this  was  con 
templated  by  the  convention  is  no  secret,  because  its  parti 
sans  have  made  more  of  it.  To  effect  it  then  was  imprac 
ticable,  but  they  are  still  eager  after  their  object,  and  are 
predisposing  everything  for  its  ultimate  attainment.  So 
many  of  them  have  got  into  the  Legislature,  that,  aided  by 
the  corrupt  squadron  of  paper  dealers,  who  are  at  their  de 
votion,  they  make  a  majority  in  both  houses.  The  repub 
lican  party,  who  wish  to  preserve  the  government  in  its 
present  form,  are  fewer  in  number;  they  are  fewer  even 
when  joined  by  the  two,  three,  or  half  dozen  antifederal- 
ists,  who,  though  they  dare  not  avow  it,  are  still  opposed  to 
any  General  Government;  but,  being  less  so  to  a  republican 
than  a  monarchical  one,  they  naturally  join  those  whom  they 
think  pursuing  the  lesser  evil. 

Of  all  the  mischiefs  objected  to  the  system  of  measures 
before  mentioned,  none  is  so  afflicting  and  fatal  to  every 
honest  hope,  as  the  corruption  of  the  Legislature.  As  it 
was  the  earliest  of  these  measures,  it  became  the  instrument 
for  producing  the  risk,  and  will  be  the  instrument  for  pro 
ducing  in  future  a  king,  lords  and  commons,  or  whatever 
else  those  who  direct  it  may  choose.  Withdrawn  such  a  dis 
tance  from  the  eye  of  their  constituents,  and  these  so  dis 
persed  as  to  be  inaccessible  to  public  information,  and  par 
ticularly  to  that  of  the  conduct  of  their  own  representatives, 



they  will  form  the  most  corrupt  government  on  earth,  if  the 
means  of  their  corruption  be  not  prevented.  The  only  hope 
of  safety  hangs  now  on  the  numerous  representation  which 
is  to  come  forward  the  ensuing  year.  Some  of  the  new 
members  will  be,  probably,  either  in  principle  or  interest, 
with  the  present  majority;  but  it  is  expected  that  the  great 
mass  will  form  an  accession  to  the  republican  party.  They 
will  not  be  able  to  undo  all  which  the  two  preceding  Leg 
islatures,  and  especially  the  first,  have  done.  Public  faith 
and  right  will  oppose  this.  But  some  parts  of  the  system 
may  be  rightfully  reformed,  a  liberation  from  the  rest  un 
remittingly  pursued  as  fast  as  right  will  permit,  and  the 
door  shut  in  future  against  similar  commitments  of  the  na 
tion.  Should  the  next  Legislature  take  this  course,  it  will 
draw  upon  them  the  whole  monarchical  and  paper  interest; 
but  the  latter,  I  think,  will  not  go  all  lengths  with  the  form 
er,  because  creditors  will  never,  of  their  own  accord,  fly  off 
entirely  from  their  debtors ;  therefore,  this  is  the  alternative 
least  likely  to  produce  convulsion.  But  should  the  majority 
of  the  new  members  be  still  in  the  same  principles  with  the 
present,  and  show  that  we  have  nothing  to  expect  but  a  con 
tinuance  of  the  same  practices,  it  is  not  easy  to  conjecture 
what  would  be  the  result,  nor  what  means  would  be  resorted 
to  for  correction  of  the  evil.  True  wisdom  would  direct  that 
they  should  be  temperate  and  peaceable;  but  the  division  of 
sentiment  and  interest  happens  unfortunately  to  be  so  geo 
graphical,  that  no  mortal  can  say  that  what  is  most  wise  and 
temperate  would  prevail  against  what  is  most  easy  and  ob 
vious.  I  can  scarcely  contemplate  a  more  incalculable  evil 
than  the  breaking  of  the  Union  into  two  or  more  parts.  Yet 
when  we  consider  the  mass  which  opposed  the  original 
coalescence;  when  we  consider  that  it  lay  chiefly  in  the 
Southern  quarter;  that  the  Legislature  have  availed  them 
selves  of  no  occasion  of  allaying  it,  but  on  the  contrary, 



whenever  Northern  and  Southern  prejudices  have  come  into 
conflict,  the  latter  have  been  sacrificed  and  the  former 
soothed;  that  the  owners  of  the  debt  are  in  the  Southern, 
and  the  holders  of  it  in  the  Northern  division ;  that  the  anti- 
federal  champions  are  now  strengthened  in  argument  by 
the  fulfilment  of  their  predictions ;  that  this  has  been 
brought  about  by  the  monarchical  federalists  themselves, 
who,  having  been  for  the  new  government  merely  as  a 
stepping-stone  to  monarchy,  have  themselves  adopted  the 
very  constructions  of  the  Constitution,  of  which,  when  advo 
cating  its  acceptance  before  the  tribunal  of  the  people,  they 
declared  it  unsusceptible;  that  the  republican  federalists 
who  espoused  the  same  government  for  its  intrinsic  merits, 
are  disarmed  of  their  weapons ;  that  which  they  denied  as 
prophecy,  having  now  become  true  history,  who  can  be  sure 
that  these  things  may  not  proselyte  the  small  number  which 
was  wanting  to  place  the  majority  on  the  other  side?  And 
this  is  the  event  at  which  I  tremble,  and  to  prevent  which  I 
consider  your  continuing  at  the  head  of  affairs  as  of  the 
last  importance.  The  confidence  of  the  whole  Union  is  cen 
tred  in  you.  Your  being  at  the  helm  will  be  more  than  an 
answer  to  every  argument  which  can  be  used  to  alarm  and 
lead  the  people  in  any  quarter,  into  violence  and  secession. 
North  and  South  will  hang  together  if  they  have  you  to 
hang  on;  and  if  the  first  correction  of  a  numerous  represen 
tation  should  fail  in  its  effect,  your  presence  will  give  time 
for  trying  others,  not  inconsistent  with  the  union  and  peace 
of  the  States. 

I  am  perfectly  aware  of  the  oppression  under  which 
your  present  office  lays  your  mind,  and  of  the  ardor  with 
which  you  pant  for  domestic  life.  But  there  is  sometimes 
an  eminence  of  character  on  which  society  have  such  pecul 
iar  claims  as  to  control  the  predilections  of  the  individual 
for  a  particular  walk  of  happiness,  and  restrain  him  to  that 



alone  arising  from  the  present  and  future  benedictions  of 
mankind.  This  seems  to  be  your  condition,  and  the  law  im 
posed  on  you  by  Providence  in  forming  your  character,  and 
fashioning  the  events  on  which  it  was  to  operate;  and  it  is 
to  motives  like  these,  and  not  to  personal  anxieties  of  mine 
or  others  who  have  no  right  to  call  on  you  for  sacrifices, 
that  I  appeal,  and  urge  a  revisal  of  it,  on  the  ground  of 
change  in  the  aspect  of  things.  Should  an  honest  majority 
result  from  the  new  and  enlarged  representation ;  should 
those  acquiesce  whose  principles  or  interest  they  may  con 
trol,  your  wishes  for  retirement  would  be  gratified  with  less 
danger,  as  soon  as  that  shall  be  manifest,  without  awaiting 
the  completion  of  the  second  period  of  four  years.  One  or 
two  sessions  will  determine  the  crisis ;  and  I  cannot  but  hope 
that  you  can  resolve  to  add  more  to  the  many  years  you 
have  already  sacrificed  to  the  good  of  mankind. 

The  fear  of  suspicion  that  any  selfish  motive  of  contin 
uance  in  office  may  enter  into  this  solicitation  on  my  part 
obliges  me  to  declare  that  no  such  motive  exists.  It  is  a 
thing  of  mere  indifference  to  the  public  whether  I  retain  or 
relinquish  my  purpose  of  closing  my  tour  with  the  first  pe 
riodical  renovation  of  the  Government.  I  know  my  own 
measure  too  well  to  suppose  that  my  services  contribute  any 
thing  to  the  public  confidence,  or  the  public  utility.  Multi 
tudes  can  fill  the  office  in  which  you  have  been  pleased  to 
place  me,  as  much  to  their  advantage  and  satisfaction.  I 
have,  therefore,  no  motive  to  consult  but  my  own  inclina 
tion,  which  is  bent  irresistibly  on  the  tranquil  enjoyment  of 
my  family,  my  farm,  and  my  books.  I  should  repose  among 
them,  it  is  true,  in  far  greater  security,  if  I  were  to  know 
that  you  remained  at  the  watch ;  and  I  hope  it  will  be  so.  To 
the  inducements  urged  from  a  view  of  our  domestic  affairs,  I 
will  add  a  bare  mention,  of  what  indeed  need  only  to  be 
mentioned,  that  weighty  motives  for  your  continuance  are  to 



be  found  in  our  foreign  affairs.  I  think  it  probable  that 
both  the  Spanish  and  English  negotiations,  if  not  completed 
before  your  purpose  is  known,  will  be  suspended  from  the 
moment  it  is  known,  and  that  the  latter  nation  will  then  use 
double  diligence  in  fomenting  the  Indian  War. 

On  the  French  Revolution 

To   William  Short 

PHILADELPHIA,  January  3,  1793. 

The  liberty  of  the  whole  earth  was  depending  on  the  issue 
of  the  contest  [the  French  Revolution],  and  was  ever  such 
a  prize  won  with  so  little  innocent  blood?  My  own  affec 
tions  have  been  deeply  wounded  by  some  of  the  martyrs  to 
this  cause,  but  rather  than  it  should  have  failed  I  would 
have  seen  half  the  earth  desolated;  were  there  but  an  Adam 
and  an  Eve  left  in  every  country,  and  left  free,  it  would  be 
better  than  as  it  now  is. 

On  Obligations  to  Public  Service  and  the  Simple 


To  James  Madison 

PHILADELPHIA,  June  9>  1793. 

I  acknowledge  .  .  .  that  a  tour  of  duty,  in  whatever 
line  he  can  be  most  useful  to  his  country,  is  due  from  every 
individual.  It  is  not  easy  perhaps  to  say  of  what  length 
exactly  this  tour  should  be,  but  we  may  safely  say  of  what 
length  it  should  not  be.  Not  of  our  whole  life,  for  instance, 
for  that  would  be  to  be  born  a  slave — not  even  of  a  very 



large  portion  of  it.  I  have  now  been  in  the  public  service 
four  and  twenty  years ;  one-half  of  which  has  been  spent  in 
total  occupation  with  their  affairs,  and  absence  from  my 
own.  I  have  served  my  tour  then.  No  positive  engage 
ment,  by  word  or  deed,  binds  me  to  their  further  service. 
No  commitment  of  their  interests  in  any  enterprise  by  me 
requires  that  I  should  see  them  through  it.  I  am  pledged 
by  no  act  which  gives  any  tribunal  a  call  upon  me  be 
fore  I  withdraw.  Even  my  enemies  do  not  pretend  this. 
I  stand  clear  then  of  public  right  on  all  points — my 
friends  I  have  not  committed.  No  circumstances  have  at 
tended  my  passage  from  office  to  office,  which  could  lead 
them,  and  others  through  them,  into  deception  as  to  the 
time  I  might  remain,  and  particularly  the}'  and  all 
have  known  with  what  reluctance  I  engaged  and  have  con 
tinued  in  the  present  one,  and  of  my  uniform  determina 
tion  to  return  from  it  at  an  early  date.  If  the  public 
then  has  no  claim  on  me,  and  my  friends  nothing  to  justify, 
the  decision  will  rest  on  my  own  feelings  alone.  There  has 
been  a  time  when  these  were  very  different  from  what  they 
are  now;  when  perhaps  the  esteem  of  the  world  was  of 
higher  value  in  my  eye  than  everything  in  it.  But  age,  ex 
perience  and  reflection  preserving  to  that  only  its  due  value, 
have  set  a  higher  on  tranquillity.  The  motion  of  my  blood 
no  longer  keeps  time  with  the  tumult  of  the  world.  It  leads 
me  to  seek  for  happiness  in  the  lap  and  love  of  my  family, 
in  the  society  of  my  neighbors  and  my  books,  in  the  whole 
some  occupations  of  my  farm  and  my  affairs,  in  an  interest 
or  affection  in  every  bud  that  opens,  in  every  breath  that 
blows  around  me,  in  an  entire  freedom  of  rest,  of  motion, 
of  thought,  owing  account  to  myself  alone  of  my  hours  and 
actions.  What  must  be  the  principle  of  that  calculation 
which  should  balance  against  these  the  circumstances  of  my 
present  existence — worn  down  with  labors  from  morning  to 



night,  and  day  to  day;  knowing  them  as  fruitless  to  others 
as  they  are  vexatious  to  myself,  committed  singly  in  desper 
ate  and  eternal  contest  against  a  host  who  are  systemati 
cally  undermining  the  public  liberty  and  prosperity,  even 
the  rare  hours  of  relaxation  sacrificed  to  the  society  of  per 
sons  in  the  same  intentions,  of  whose  hatred  I  am  conscious 
even  in  those  moments  of  conviviality  when  the  heart 
wishes  most  to  open  itself  to  the  effusions  of  friendship 
and  confidence,  cut  off  from  my  family  and  friends,  my 
affairs  abandoned  to  chaos  and  derangement,  in  short,  giv 
ing  everything  I  love  in  exchange  for  everything  I  hate, 
and  all  this  without  a  single  gratification  in  possession  or 
prospect,  in  present  enjoyment  or  future  wish.  Indeed,  my 
dear  friend,  duty  being  out  of  the  question,  inclination  cuts 
off  all  argument,  and  so  never  let  there  be  more  between 
you  and  me,  on  this  subject. 

From  the  Report  of  Secretary  of  State  on  Trade 
and  the  Tariff 

DECEMBER  16,  1793. 

The  following  principles,  being  founded  in  reciprocity, 
appear  perfectly  just,  and  to  offer  no  cause  of  complaint 
to  any  nation : 

1.  Where  a  nation  imposes  high  duties  on  our  produc 
tions,  or  prohibits  them  altogether,  it  may  be  proper  for  us 
to  do  the  same  by  theirs ;  first  burdening  or  excluding  those 
productions  which  they  bring  here,  in  competition  with  our 
own  of  the  same  kind;  selecting  next,  such  manufactures  as 
we  take  from  them  in  greatest  quantity,  and  which,  at  the 
same  time,  we  could  the  soonest  furnish  to  ourselves,  or  ob 
tain  from  other  countries;  imposing  on  them  duties  lighter 



at  first,  but  heavier  and  heavier  afterward  as  other  channels 
of  supply  open.  Such  duties  having  the  effect  of  indirect 
encouragement  to  domestic  manufactures  of  the  same  kind, 
may  induce  the  manufacturer  to  come  himself  into  these 
States,  where  cheaper  subsistence,  equal  laws,  and  a  vent 
of  his  wares,  free  of  duty,  may  insure  him  the  highest 
profits  from  his  skill  and  industry.  And  here,  it  would  be 
in  the  power  of  the  State  governments  to  cooperate  essen 
tially,  by  opening  the  resources  of  encouragement  which  are 
under  their  control,  extending  them  liberally  to  artists  in 
those  particular  branches  of  manufacture  for  which  their 
soil,  climate,  population  and  other  circumstances  have  ma 
tured  them,  and  fostering  the  precious  efforts  and  progress 
of  household  manufacture,  by  some  patronage  suited  to  the 
nature  of  its  objects,  guided  by  the  local  informations  they 
possess,  and  guarded  against  abuse  by  their  presence  and 
.  attentions.  The  oppressions  on  our  agriculture,  in  foreign 
ports,  would  thus  be  made  the  occasion  of  relieving  it  from 
a  dependence  on  the  councils  and  conduct  of  others,  and  of 
promoting  arts,  manufactures,  and  population  at  home. 

2.  Where  a  nation  refuses  permission  to  our  merchants 
and  factors  to  reside  within  certain  parts  of  their  dominions, 
we  may,  if  it  should  be  thought  expedient,  refuse  residence 
to  theirs  in  any  and  every  part  of  ours,  or  modify  their 

3.  Where  a  nation  refuses  to  receive  in  our  vessels  any 
productions  but  our  own,  we  may  refuse  to  receive,  in  theirs, 
any  but  their  own  productions.     The  first  and  second  clauses 
of  the  bill  reported  by  the  committee,  are  well  formed  to 
effect  this  object. 

4.  Where  a  nation  refuses  to  consider  any  vessel  as  ours 
which  has  not  been  built  within  our  territories,  we  should 
refuse  to  consider  as  theirs,  any  vessel  not  built  within  their 



5.  Where  a  nation  refuses  to  our  vessels  the  carriage 
even  of  our  own  productions,  to  certain  countries  under 
their  domination,  we  might  refuse  to  theirs  of  every  descrip 
tion,  the  carriage  of  the  same  productions  to  the  same  coun 
tries.  But  as  justice  and  good  neighborhood  would  dictate 
that  those  who  have  no  part  in  imposing  the  restriction  on 
us,  should  not  be  the  victims  of  measures  adopted  to  defeat 
its  effect,  it  may  be  proper  to  confine  the  restrictions  to  ves 
sels  owned  or  navigated  by  any  subjects  of  the  same  domi 
nant  power,  other  than  the  inhabitants  of  the  country  to 
which  the  said  productions  are  to  be  carried.  And  to  pre 
vent  all  inconvenience  to  the  said  inhabitants,  and  to  our 
own,  by  too  sudden  a  check  on  the  means  of  transportation, 
we  may  continue  to  admit  the  vessels  marked  for  future  ex 
clusion,  on  an  advanced  tonnage,  and  for  such  length  of 
time  only,  as  may  be  supposed  necessary  to  provide  against 
that  inconvenience. 

The  establishment  of  some  of  these  principles  by  Great 
Britain  alone,  has  already  lost  us  in  our  commerce  with  that 
country  and  its  possessions,  between  eight  and  nine  hun 
dred  vessels  of  near  40,000  tons  burden,  according  to  state 
ments  from  official  materials,  in  which  they  have  confidence. 
This  involves  a  proportional  loss  of  seamen,  shipwrights, 
and  ship-building,  and  is  too  serious  a  loss  to  admit  forbear 
ance  of  some  effectual  remedy. 

It  is  true  we  must  expect  some  inconvenience  in  practice 
from  the  establishment  of  discriminating  duties.  But  in 
this,  as  in  so  many  other  cases,  we  are  left  to  choose  be 
tween  two  evils.  These  inconveniences  are  nothing  when 
weighed  against  the  loss  of  wealth  and  loss  of  force,  which 
will  follow  our  perseverance  in  the  plan  of  indiscrimination. 
When  once  it  shall  be  perceived  that  we  are  either  in  the 
system  or  in  the  habit  of  giving  equal  advantages  to  those 
who  extinguish  our  commerce  and  navigation  by  duties  and 



prohibitions,  as  to  those  who  treat  both  with  liberality  and 
justice,  liberality  and  justice  will  be  converted  by  all  into 
duties  and  prohibitions.  It  is  not  to  the  moderation  and  jus 
tice  of  others  we  are  to  trust  for  fair  and  equal  access  to 
market  with  our  productions,  or  for  our  due  share  in  the 
transportation  of  them;  but  to  our  own  means  of  indepen 
dence,  and  the  firm  will  to  use  them.  Nor  do  the  inconven 
iences  of  discrimination  merit  consideration.  Not  one  of 
the  nations  before  mentioned,  perhaps  not  a  commercial  na 
tion  on  earth,  is  without  them.  In  our  case  one  distinction 
alone  will  suffice:  that  is  to  say,  between  nations  who  favor 
our  productions  and  navigation,  and  those  who  do  not  favor 
them.  One  set  of  moderate  duties,  say  the  present  duties, 
for  the  first,  and  a  fixed  advance  on  these  as  to  some  arti 
cles,  and  prohibitions  as  to  others,  for  the  last. 

Still,  it  must  be  repeated  that  friendly  arrangements  are 
preferable  with  all  who  will  come  into  them ;  and  that  we 
should  carry  into  such  arrangements  all  the  liberality  and 
spirit  of  accommodation  which  the  nature  of  the  case  will 

On  Rural  Life 

To  George  Washington 

MONTICELLO,  April  25,  1794. 

Dear  Sir:  I  am  to  thank  you  for  the  book  you  were  so 
good  as  to  transmit  me,  as  well  as  the  letter  covering  it, 
and  your  felicitations  on  my  present  quiet.  The  difference 
of  my  present  and  past  situation  is  such  as  to  leave  me 
nothing  to  regret,  but  that  my  retirement  has  been  post 
poned  four  years  too  long.  The  principles  on  which  I  cal 
culated  the  value  of  life,  are  entirely  in  favor  of  my  present 



course.  I  return  to  farming  with  an  ardor  which  I  scarcely 
knew  in  my  youth,  and  which  has  got  the  better  entirely  of 
my  love  of  study.  Instead  of  writing  ten  or  twelve  letters 
a  day,  which  I  have  been  in  the  habit  of  doing  as  a  tiling  in 
course,  I  put  off  answering  my  letters  now,  farmer-like,  till 
a  rainy  day,  and  then  find  them  sometimes  postponed  by 
other  necessary  occupations. 

On  Political  Theory 

To  Monsieur  D'lvernois 

MONTICELLO,  February  6,  1795. 

I  suspect  that  the  doctrine,  that  small  States  alone  are 
fitted  to  be  republics,  will  be  exploded  by  experience,  with 
some  other  brilliant  fallacies  accredited  by  Montesquieu  and 
other  political  writers.  Perhaps  it  will  be  found,  that  to 
obtain  a  just  republic  (and  it  is  to  secure  our  just  rights 
that  we  resort  to  government  at  all)  it  must  be  so  extensive 
as  that  local  egoisms  may  never  reach  its  greater  part ;  that 
on  every  particular  question,  a  majority  may  be  found  in  its 
councils  free  from  particular  interests,  and  giving,  there 
fore,  an  uniform  prevalence  to  the  principles  of  justice. 
The  smaller  the  societies  the  more  violent  and  more  con 
vulsive  their  schisms.  We  have  chanced  to  live  in  an  age 
which  will  probably  be  distinguished  in  history,  for  its  ex 
periments  in  government  on  a  larger  scale  than  has  yet 
taken  place.  But  we  shall  not  live  to  see  the  result.  The 
grosser  absurdities,  such  as  hereditary  magistracies,  we 
shall  see  exploded  in  our  day,  long  experience  having  al 
ready  pronounced  condemnation  against  them.  But  what  is 
to  be  the  substitute?  Tliis  our  children  or  grandchildren 
will  answer.  We  may  be  satisfied  with  the  certain  knowl- 



edge  that  none  can  ever  be  tried,  so  stupid,  so  unrighteous, 
so  oppressive,  so  destructive  of  every  end  for  which  hon 
est  men  enter  into  government,  as  that  which  their  fore 
fathers  had  established,  and  their  fathers  alone  venture  to 
tumble  headlong  from  the  stations  they  have  so  long  abused. 
It  is  unfortunate,  that  the  efforts  of  mankind  to  recover  the 
freedom  of  which  they  have  been  so  long  deprived,  will 
be  accompanied  with  violence,  with  errors,  and  even  with 
crimes.  But  while  we  weep  over  the  means,  we  must  pray 
for  the  end. 

On  Education,  Rogues,  and  Honest  Men 

To  Mann  Page 

MONTICELLO,  August  30,  1795. 

If  anything  could  ever  induce  me  to  sleep  another  night 
out  of  my  own  house,  it  would  have  been  your  friendly  in 
vitation  and  my  solicitude  for  the  subject  of  it,  the  educa 
tion  of  our  youth.  I  do  most  anxiously  wish  to  see  the 
highest  degrees  of  education  given  to  the  higher  degrees 
of  genius,  and  to  all  degrees  of  it,  so  much  as  may  enable 
them  to  read  and  understand  what  is  going  on  in  the  world, 
and  to  keep  their  part  of  it  going  on  right:  for  nothing 
can  keep  it  right  but  their  own  vigilant  and  distrustful 
superintendence.  I  do  not  believe  with  the  Rochefou- 
caults  and  Montaignes,  that  fourteen  out  of  fifteen  men  are 
rogues:  I  believe  a  great  abatement  from  that  proportion 
may  be  made  in  favor  of  general  honesty.  But  I  have  al 
ways  found  that  rogues  would  be  uppermost,  and  I  do  not 
know  that  the  proportion  is  too  strong  for  the  higher  or 
ders,  and  for  those  who,  rising  above  the  swinish  multitude, 
always  contrive  to  nestle  themselves  into  the  places  of  power 



and  profit.  These  rogues  set  out  with  stealing  the  people's 
good  opinion,  and  then  steal  from  them  the  right  of  with 
drawing  it,  by  contriving  laws  and  associations  against  the 
power  of  the  people  themselves.  Our  part  of  the  country 
is  in  considerable  fermentation,  on  what  they  suspect  to  be 
a  recent  roguery  of  this  kind.  They  say  that  while  all 
hands  were  below  deck  mending  sails,  splicing  ropes,  and 
every  one  at  his  own  business,  and  the  captain  in  his  cabin 
attending  to  his  log-book  and  chart,  a  rogue  of  a  pilot  has 
run  them  into  an  enemy's  port.  But  metaphor  apart,  there 
is  much  dissatisfaction  with  Mr.  Jay  and  his  treaty.  For 
my  part,  I  consider  myself  now  but  as  a  passenger,  leaving 
the  world  and  its  government  to  those  who  are  likely  to  live 
longer  in  it.  That  you  may  be  among  the  longest  of  these 
is  my  sincere  prayer. 

On  the  Jay  Treaty 

To  Col.  James  Monroe 

MONTICELLO,  March  21,  1796. 

All  America  is  a-tiptoe  to  see  what  the  House  of  Repre 
sentatives  will  decide  on  it  [the  Jay  Treaty].  We  conceive 
the  constitutional  doctrine  to  be,  that  though  the  President 
and  Senate  have  the  general  power  of  making  treaties,  yet 
wherever  they  include  in  a  treaty  matters  confided  by  the 
Constitution  to  the  three  branches  of  Legislature,  an  act  of 
legislation  will  be  requisite  to  confirm  these  articles,  and 
that  the  House  of  Representatives,  as  one  branch  of  the 
Legislature,  are  perfectly  free  to  pass  the  act  or  to  refuse 
it,  governing  themselves  by  their  own  judgment  whether  it 
is  for  the  good  of  their  constituents  to  let  the  treaty  go  into 
effect  or  not.  On  the  precedent  now  to  be  set  will  depend 



the  future  construction  of  our  Constitution,  and  whether  the 
powers  of  legislation  shall  be  transferred  from  the  Presi 
dent,  Senate,  and  House  of  Representatives,  to  the  Presi 
dent  and  Senate,  and  Piamingo  or  any  other  Indian,  Alge- 
rine,  or  other  chief.  It  is  fortunate  that  the  first  decision  is 
to  be  in  a  case  so  palpably  atrocious,  as  to  have  been  prede 
termined  by  all  America.  The  appointment  of  Ellsworth 
Chief  Justice,  and  Chase  one  of  the  judges,  is  doubtless 
communicated  to  you. 

On  Party  Lines 

To  Phillip  Mazzei 

MONTICELLO,  April  24,  1796. 

The  aspect  of  our  politics  has  wonderfully  changed  since 
you  left  us.  In  place  of  that  noble  love  of  liberty  and  re 
publican  government  which  carried  us  triumphantly  through 
the  war,  an  Anglican  monarchical  aristocratical  party  has 
sprung  up,  whose  avowed  object  is  to  draw  over  us  the  sub 
stance,  as  they  have  already  done  the  forms,  of  the  British 
government.  The  main  body  of  our  citizens,  however,  re 
main  true  to  their  republican  principles;  the  whole  landed 
interest  is  republican,  and  so  is  a  great  mass  of  talents. 
Against  us  are  the  Executive,  the  Judiciary,  two  out  of 
three  branches  of  the  Legislature,  all  the  officers  of  the  gov 
ernment,  all  who  want  to  be  officers,  all  timid  men  who  pre 
fer  the  calm  of  despotism  to  the  boisterous  sea  of  liberty, 
British  merchants  and  Americans  trading  on  British  capital, 
speculators  and  holders  in  the  banks  and  public  funds,  a 
contrivance  invented  for  the  purposes  of  corruption,  and  for 
assimilating  us  in  all  things  to  the  rotten  as  well  as  the 
sound  parts  of  the  British  model.  It  would  give  you  a  fever 



were  I  to  name  to  you  the  apostates  who  have  gone  over  to 
these  heresies,  men  who  were  Samsons  in  the  field  and  Solo 
mons  in  the  council,  but  who  have  had  their  heads  shorn  by 
the  harlot  England.  In  short,  we  are  likely  to  preserve  the 
liberty  we  have  obtained  only  by  unremitting  labors  and 
perils.  But  we  shall  preserve  it;  and  our  mass  of  weight 
and  wealth  on  the  good  side  is  so  great,  as  to  leave  no  dan 
ger  that  force  will  ever  be  attempted  against  us.  We  have 
only  to  awake  and  snap  the  Lilliputian  cords  with  which 
they  have  been  entangling  us  during  the  first  sleep  which 
succeeded  our  labors. 

On  Adams  for  President 

To  James  Madison 

MONTICELLO,  December  17,  1796. 

Your  favor  of  the  5th  came  to  hand  last  night.  The  first 
wish  of  my  heart  was,  that  you  should  have  been  proposed 
for  the  administration  of  the  government.  On  your  declin 
ing  it,  I  wish  anybody  rather  than  myself;  and  there  is 
nothing  I  so  anxiously  hope,  as  that  my  name  may  come  out 
either  second  or  third.  These  would  be  indifferent  to  me; 
as  the  last  would  leave  me  at  home  the  whole  year,  and  the 
other  two-thirds  of  it.  I  have  no  expectation  that  the  East 
ern  States  will  suffer  themselves  to  be  so  much  outwitted,  as 
to  be  made  the  tools  for  bringing  in  P.  instead  of  A.  I  pre 
sume  they  will  throw  away  their  second  vote.  In  this  case, 
it  begins  to  appear  possible,  that  there  may  be  an  equal  di 
vision  where  I  had  supposed  the  republican  vote  would  have 
been  considerably  minor.  It  seems  also  possible,  that  the 
Representatives  may  be  divided.  This  is  a  difficulty  from 
which  the  Constitution  has  provided  no  issue.  It  is  both  my 



duty  and  inclination,  therefore,  to  relieve  the  embarrass 
ment,  should  it  happen;  and  in  that  case,  I  pray  you  and 
authorize  you  fully,  to  solicit  on  my  behalf  that  Mr.  Adams 
may  be  preferred.  He  has  always  been  my  senior,  from 
the  commencement  of  our  public  life,  and  the  expression  of 
the  public  will  being  equal,  this  circumstance  ought  to  give 
him  the  preference.  And  when  so  many  motives  will  be 
operating  to  induce  some  of  the  members  to  change  their 
vote,  the  addition  of  my  wish  may  have  some  effect  to  pre 
ponderate  the  scale. 

On  his  Relations  to  Adams 

To  James  Madison 

MONTICELLO,  January  30,  1797. 

Yours  of  the  18th  came  to  hand  yesterday.  I  am  very 
thankful  for  the  discretion  you  have  exercised  over  the  let 
ter.  That  has  happened  to  be  the  case,  which  I  knew  to  be 
possible,  that  the  honest  expression  of  my  feelings  toward 
Mr.  Adams  might  be  rendered  malapropos  from  circum 
stances  existing,  and  known  at  the  seat  of  government,  but 
not  known  by  me  in  my  retired  situation.  Mr.  Adams  and 
myself  were  cordial  friends  from  the  beginning  of  the  Rev 
olution.  Since  our  return  from  Europe,  some  little  incidents 
have  happened,  which  were  capable  of  affecting  a  jealous 
mind  like  his.  His  deviation  from  that  line  of  politics  on 
which  we  had  been  united,  has  not  made  me  less  sensible  of 
the  rectitude  of  his  heart;  and  I  wished  him  to  know  this, 
and  also  another  truth,  that  I  am  sincerely  pleased  at  hav 
ing  escaped  the  late  draft  for  the  helm,  and  have  not  a 
wish  which  he  stands  in  the  way  of.  That  he  should  be  con 
vinced  of  these  truths,  is  important  to  our  mutual  satisfac- 



tion,  and  perhaps  to  the  harmony  and  good  of  the  public 
service.  But  there  was  a  difficulty  in  conveying  them  to 
him,  and  a  possibility  that  the  attempt  might  do  mischief 
there  or  somewhere  else ;  and  I  would  not  have  hazarded  the 
attempt,  if  you  had  not  been  in  place  to  decide  upon  its  ex 
pediency.  It  has  now  become  unnecessary  to  repeat  it  by  a 

On  Ins  Relations  with  Adams  and  Attitude 
toward  England 

To  Elbridge  Gerry 

PHILADELPHIA,  May  13,  1797. 

I  entirely  commend  your  dispositions  toward  Mr.  Adams, 
knowing  his  worth  as  intimately  and  esteeming  it  as  much 
as  any  one,  and  acknowledging  the  preference  of  his  claims, 
if  any  I  could  have  had,  to  the  high  office  conferred  on  him. 
But  in  truth,  I  had  neither  claims  nor  wishes  on  the  sub 
ject,  though  I  know  it  will  be  difficult  to  obtain  belief  of 
this.  When  I  retired  from  this  place  and  the  office  of  Sec 
retary  of  State,  it  was  in  the  firmest  contemplation  of  never 
more  returning  here.  There  had  indeed  been  suggestions 
in  the  public  papers,  that  I  was  looking  toward  a  succession 
to  the  President's  chair,  but  feeling  a  consciousness  of 
their  falsehood,  and  observing  that  the  suggestions  came 
from  hostile  quarters,  I  considered  them  as  intended  merely 
to  excite  public  odium  against  me.  I  never  in  my  life  ex 
changed  a  word  with  any  person  on  the  subject,  till  I  found 
my  name  brought  forward  generally,  in  competition  with 
that  of  Mr.  Adams.  Those  with  whom  I  then  communi 
cated,  could  say,  if  it  were  necessary,  whether  I  met  the  call 


with  desire,  or  even  with  a  ready  acquiescence,  and  whether 
from  the  moment  of  my  first  acquiescence,  I  did  not  devoutly 
pray  that  the  very  thing  might  happen  which  has  happened. 
The  second  office  of  the  Government  is  honorable  and  easy, 
the  f  rst  is  but  a  splendid  misery. 

You  express  apprehensions  that  stratagems  will  be  used, 
to  produce  a  misunderstanding  between  the  President  and 
myself.  Though  not  a  word  having  this  tendency  hqs  ever 
been  hazarded  to  me  by  any  one,  yet  I  consider  as  a  cer 
tainty  that  nothing  will  be  left  untried  to  alienate  him  from 
me.  These  machinations  will  proceed  from  the  Hainil- 
tonians  by  whom  he  is  surrounded,  and  who  are  only  a  little 
less  hostile  to  him  than  to  me.  It  cannot  but  damp  the 
pleasure  of  cordiality,  when  we  suspect  that  it  is  suspected. 
I  cannot  help  thinking,  that  it  is  impossible  for  Mr.  Adams 
to  believe  that  the  state  of  my  mind  is  what  it  really  is ;  that 
he  may  think  I  view  him  as  an  obstacle  in  my  way.  I  have 
no  supernatural  power  to  impress  truth  on  the  mind  of  an 
other,  nor  he  any  to  discover  that  the  estimate  which  he  may 
form,  on  a  just  view  of  the  human  mind  as  generally  consti 
tuted,  may  not  be  just  in  its  application  to  a  special  consti 
tution.  This  may  be  a  source  of  private  uneasiness  to  us;  I 
honestly  confess  that  it  is  so  to  me  at  this  time.  But  neither 
of  us  is  capable  of  letting  it  have  effect  on  our  public  dv.ties. 
Those  who  may  endeavor  to  separate  us,  are  probably  ex 
cited  by  the  fear  that  I  might  have  influence  on  the  exec 
utive  councils ;  but  when  they  shall  know  that  I  consider  my 
office  as  constitutionally  confined  to  legislative  functions, 
and  that  I  could  not  take  any  part  whatever  in  executive 
consultations,  even  were  it  proposed,  their  fears  may  per 
haps  subside,  and  their  object  be  found  not  worth  a  machi 

I  do  sincerely  wisli  with  you,  that  we  could  take  cur  stand 
on  a  ground  perfectly  neutral  and  independent  toward  all 



nations.  It  has  been  my  constant  object  through  my  public 
life;  and  with  respect  to  the  English  and  French,  particu 
larly,  I  have  too  often  expressed  to  the  former  my  wishes, 
and  made  to  them  propositions  verbally  and  in  writing,  offi 
cially  and  privately,  to  official  and  private  characters,  for 
them  to  doubt  of  my  views,  if  they  would  be  content  with 
equality.  Of  this  they  are  in  possession  of  several  written 
and  formal  proofs,  in  my  own  handwriting.  But  they  have 
wished  a  monopoly  of  commerce  and  influence  with  us ;  and 
they  have  in  fact  obtained  it.  When  we  take  notice  that 
theirs  is  the  workshop  to  which  we  go  for  all  we  want;  that 
with  them  centre  either  immediately  or  ultimately  all  the 
labors  of  our  hands  and  lands;  that  to  them  belongs  either 
openly  or  secretly  the  great  mass  of  our  navigation;  that 
even  the  factorage  of  their  affairs  here,  is  kept  to  them 
selves  by  factitious  citizenships;  that  these  foreign  and 
false  citizens  now  constitute  the  great  body  of  what  are 
called  our  merchants,  fill  our  seaports,  are  planted  in  every 
little  town  and  district  of  the  interior  country,  sway  every 
thing  in  the  former  places  by  their  own  votes,  and  those  of 
their  dependents,  in  the  latter,  by  their  insinuations  and  the 
influence  of  their  ledgers ;  that  they  are  advancing  fast  to  a 
monopoly  of  our  banks  and  public  funds,  and  thereby  plac 
ing  our  public  finances  under  their  control;  that  they  have 
in  their  alliance  the  most  influential  characters  in  and  out  of 
office;  when  they  have  shown  that  by  all  these  bearings  on 
the  different  branches  of  the  government,  they  can  force  it 
to  proceed  in  whatever  direction  they  dictate,  and  bend  the 
interests  of  this  country  entirely  to  the  will  of  another; 
when  all  this,  I  say,  is  attended  to,  it  is  impossible  for  us  to 
say  we  stand  on  independent  ground,  impossible  for  a  free 
mind  not  to  see  and  to  groan  under  the  bondage  in  which 
it  is  bound.  If  anything  after  this  could  excite  surprise,  it 
would  be  that  they  have  been  able  so  far  to  throw  dust  in 



the  eyes  of  our  own  citizens,  as  to  fix  on  those  who  wish 
merely  to  recover  self-government  the  charge  of  subserving 
one  foreign  influence,  because  they  resist  submission  to  an 
other.  But  they  possess  our  printing-presses,  a  powerful 
engine  in  their  government  of  us.  At  this  very  moment, 
they  would  have  drawn  us  into  a  war  on  the  side  of  England, 
had  it  not  been  lor  the  failure  of  her  bank.  Such  was  their 
open  and  loud  cry,  and  that  of  their  gazettes  till  this  event. 
After  plunging  us  in  all  the  broils  of  the  European  nations, 
there  would  remain  but  one  act  to  close  our  tragedy,  that  is, 
to  break  up  our  Union ;  and  even  this  they  have  ventured  se 
riously  and  solemnly  to  propose  and  maintain  by  arguments 
in  a  Connecticut  paper.  I  have  been  happy,  however,  in 
believing,  from  the  stifling  of  this  effort,  that  that  dose  was 
found  too  strong,  and  excited  as  much  repugnance  there  as 
it  did  horror  in  other  parts  of  our  country,  and  that  what 
ever  follies  we  may  be  led  into  as  to  foreign  nations,  we 
shall  never  give  up  our  Union,  the  last  anchor  of  our  hope, 
and  that  alone  which  is  to  prevent  this  heavenly  country 
from  becoming  an  arena  of  gladiators.  Much  as  I  abhor 
war,  and  view  it  as  the  greatest  scourge  of  mankind,  and 
anxiously  as  I  wish  to  keep  out  of  the  broils  of  Europe,  I 
would  yet  go  with  my  brethren  into  these,  rather  than  sepa 
rate  from  them.  But  I  hope  we  may  still  keep  clear  of 
them,  notwithstanding  our  present  thraldom,  and  that  time 
may  be  given  us  to  reflect  on  the  awful  crisis  we  have  passed 
through,  and  to  find  some  means  of  shielding  ourselves  in 
future  from  foreign  influence,  political,  commercial,  or  in 
whatever  other  form  it  may  be  attempted.  I  can  scarcely 
withhold  myself  from  joining  in  the  wish  of  Silas  Deane, 
that  there  were  an  ocean  of  fire  between  us  and  the  Old 

A  perfect  confidence  that  you  are  as  much  attached  to 
peace  and  union   as  myself,  that  you  equally  prize  inde- 



pendence  of  all  nations,  and  the  blessings  of  self-govern 
ment,  has  induced  me  freely  to  unbosom  myself  to  you,  and 
let  you  see  the  light  in  which  I  have  viewed  what  has  been 
passing  among  us  from  the  beginning  of  the  war.  And  I 
shall  be  happy,  at  all  times,  in  an  intercommunication  of 
sentiments  with  you,  believing  that  the  dispositions  of  the 
different  parts  of  our  country  have  been  considerably  mis 
represented  and  misunderstood  in  each  part,  as  to  the  other, 
and  that  nothing  but  good  can  result  from  an  exchange  of 
information  and  opinions  between  those  whose  circum 
stances  and  morals  admit  no  doubt  of  the  integrity  of  their 

On  the  Position  of  the  United  States 

To  Edward  Rutledge 

PHILADELPHIA,  June  24,  1797. 

They  [the  peace  party]  believe  the  present  is  the  last 
campaign  of  Europe,  and  wish  to  rub  through  this  fragment 
of  a  year  as  they  have  through  the  four  preceding  ones, 
opposing  patience  to  insult,  and  interest  to  honor.  They 
will,  therefore,  immediately  adjourn.  This  is,  indeed,  a 
most  humiliating  state  of  things,  but  it  commenced  in  1793. 
Causes  have  been  adding  to  causes,  and  effects  accumulating 
on  effects,  from  that  time  to  this.  We  had,  in  1793,  the  most 
respectable  character  in  the  universe.  What  the  neutral  na 
tions  think  of  us  now,  I  know  not;  but  we  are  low  indeed 
with  the  belligerents.  Their  kicks  and  cuffs  prove  their 
contempt.  If  we  weather  the  present  storm,  I  hope  we  shall 
avail  ourselves  of  the  calm  of  peace,  to  place  our  foreign 
connections  under  a  new  and  different  arrangement.  We 
must  make  the  interest  of  every  nation  stand  surety  for 



their  justice,  and  their  own  loss  to  follow  injury  to  us,  as 
effect  follows  its  cause.  As  to  everything  except  commerce, 
we  ought  to  divorce  ourselves  from  them  all.  But  this  sys 
tem  would  require  time,  temptr,  wisdom,  and  occasional  sac 
rifice  of  interest;  and  how  far  all  of  these  will  be  ours,  our 
children  may  see,  but  we  shall  not.  The  passions  are  too 
high  at  present,  to  be  cooled  in  our  day.  You  and  I  have 
formerly  seen  warm  debates  and  high  political  passions. 
But  gentlemen  of  different  politics  would  then  speak  to  each 
other,  and  separate  the  business  of  the  Senate  from  that  of 
society.  It  is  not  so  now.  Men  who  have  been  intimate  all 
their  lives,  cross  the  streets  to  avoid  meeting,  and  turn  their 
heads  another  way,  lest  they  should  be  obliged  to  touch  their 
hats.  This  may  do  for  young  men  with  whom  passion  is  en- 
jojrment.  But  it  is  afflicting  to  peaceable  minds.  Tranquil 
lity  is  the  old  man's  milk.  I  go  to  enjoy  it  in  a  few  days, 
and  to  exchange  the  roar  and  tumult  of  bulls  and  bears,  for 
the  prattle  of  my  grandchildren  and  senile  rest.  Be  these 
yours,  my  dear  friend,  through  long  years,  with  every  other 
blessing,  and  the  attachment  of  friends  as  warm  and  sin 
cere,  as  yours  affectionately. 

On  Farming 


PHILADELPHIA,  March  23,  1798. 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  fa 
vors  of  August  l6th  and  18th,  together  with  the  box  of  seed 
accompanying  the  former,  which  has  just  come  to  li-md. 
The  letter  of  the  4th  of  June,  which  you  mention  to  have 
committed  to  Mr.  King,  has  never  been  received.  It  has 
most  likely  been  intercepted  on  the  sea,  now  become  a  field. 



of  lawless  and  indiscriminate  rn.pine  and  violence.  The  first 
box  which  came  through  Mr.  Donald,  arrived  safely  the 
last  rear,  but  being  a  little  too  late  for  that  season,  its  con 
tents  have  been  divided  between  Mr.  Randolph  and  myself, 
and  will  be  committed  to  the  earth  now  immediately.  The 
peas  and  the  vetch  are  most  acceptable  indeed.  Since  you 
were  here,  I  have  tried  that  species  of  your  field  pea  which 
is  cultivated  in  New  York,  and  begin  to  fear  that  that  plant 
will  scarcely  bear  our  sun  and  soil.  A  late  acquisition  too 
of  a  species  of  our  country  pea,  called  the  cow-pea,  has 
pretty  well  supplied  the  place  in  my  husbandry  which  I 
had  destined  for  the  European  field  pea.  It  is  very  pro 
ductive,  excellent  food  for  man  and  beast,  awaits  without 
loss  our  leisure  for  gathering,  and  shades  the  ground  very 
closely  through  the  hottest  months  of  the  year.  This  with 
the  loosening  of  the  soil,  I  take  to  be  the  chief  means  by 
which  the  pea  improves  the  soil.  We  know  that  the  sun  in 
our  cloudless  climate  is  the  most  powerful  destroyer  of  fer 
tility  in  naked  ground,  and  therefore  that  the  perpetual  fal 
lows  will  not  do  here,  which  are  so  beneficial  in  a  cloudy  cli 
mate.  Still  I  shall  with  care  try  all  the  several  kinds  of 
pea  you  have  been  so  good  as  to  send  me,  and  having  tried 
all  hold  fast  that  which  is  good.  Mr.  Randolph  is  pecul- 
iarly  happy  in  having  the  barleys  committed  to  him,  as  he 
had  been  desirous  of  going  considerably  into  that  culture.  J 
was  able  at  the  same  time  to  put  into  his  hands  Siberian  bar 
ley,  sent  me  from  France.  I  look  forward  with  considerable 
anxiety  to  the  success  of  the  winter  vetch,  for  it  gives  us  a 
good  winter  crop,  and  helps  the  succeeding  summer  one.  It 
is  something  like  doubling  the  produce  of  the  field.  I  know 
it  does  well  in  Italy,  and  therefore  have  the  more  hope  here. 
My  experience  leaves  me  no  fear  as  to  the  success  of  clover. 
I  have  never  seen  finer  than  in  some  of  my  fields  which 
have  never  been  manured.  My  rotation  is  triennial,  to  wit: 



one  year  of  wheat  and  two  of  clover  in  the  stronger  fields, 
or  two  of  peas  in  the  weaker,  with  a  crop  of  Indian  corn 
and  potatoes  between  every  other  rotation,  that  is  to  say 
once  in  seven  years.  Under  this  easy  course  of  culture, 
aided  with  some  manure,  I  hope  my  fields  will  recover  their 
pristine  fertility,  which  had  in  some  of  them  been  complete 
ly  exhausted  by  perpetual  crops  of  Indian  corn  and  wheat 
alternately.  The  atmosphere  is  certainly  the  great  work 
shop  of  nature  for  elaborating  the  fertilizing  principles  and 
insinuating  them  into  the  soil.  It  has  been  relied  on  as  the 
sole  means  of  regenerating  our  soil  by  most  of  the  land 
holders  in  the  canton  I  inhabit,  and  where  rest  has  been  re 
sorted  to  before  a  total  exhaustion,  the  soil  has  never  failed 
to  recover.  If,  indeed,  it  be  so  run  down  as  to  be  incapable 
of  throwing  weeds  or  herbage  of  any  kind,  to  shade  the  soil 
from  the  sun,  it  either  goes  off  in  gullies,  and  is  entirely 
lost,  or  remains  exhausted  till  a  growth  springs  up  of  such 
trees  as  will  rise  in  the  poorest  soils.  Under  the  shade  of 
these  and  the  cover  soon  formed  of  their  deciduous  leaves, 
and  a  commencing  herbage,  such  fields  sometimes  recover  in 
a  long  course  of  years;  but  this  is  too  long  to  be  taken  into 
a  course  of  husbandry.  Not  so,  however,  is  the  term  within 
which  the  atmosphere  alone  will  reintegrate  a  soil  rested  in 
due  season.  A  year  of  wheat  will  be  balanced  by  one,  two, 
or  three  years  of  rest  and  atmospheric  influence,  according 
to  the  quality  of  the  soil.  It  has  been  said  that  no  rotation 
of  crops  will  keep  the  earth  in  the  same  degree  of  fertility 
without  the  aid  of  manure.  But  it  is  well  known  here  that 
a  space  of  rest  greater  or  less  in  spontaneous  herbage,  will 
restore  the  exhaustion  of  a  single  crop.  This  then  is  a  ro 
tation;  and  as  it  is  not  to  be  believed  that  spontaneous  herb 
age  is  the  only  or  best  covering  during  rest,  so  may  we  ex 
pect  that  a  substitute  for  it  may  be  found  which  will  yield 
profitable  crops,  Such  perhaps  are  clover,  peas,  vetches, 



etc.  A  rotation  then  may  be  found,  which,  by  giving  time 
for  the  slow  influence  of  the  atmosphere,  will  keep  the  soil 
in  a  constant  and  equal  state  of  fertility.  But  the  advant 
age  of  manuring,  is  that  it  will  do  more  in  one  than  the 
atmosphere  would  require  several  years  to  do,  and  conse 
quently  enables  you  so  much  the  oftener  to  take  exhausting 
crops  from  the  soil,  a  circumstance  of  importance  where 
there  is  more  labor  than  land.  I  am  much  indebted. 

On  Newspaper  Libels 

To  James  Lewis,  Jr. 

PHILADELPHIA,  May  Q,  1798. 

Party  passions  are  indeed  high.  Nobody  has  more  rea 
son  to  know  it  than  myself.  I  receive  daily  bitter  proofs  of 
it  from  people  who  never  saw  me,  nor  know  anything  of  me 
but  through  Porcupine  and  Fenno.  At  this  moment  all  the 
passions  are  boiling  over,  and  one  who  keeps  himself  cool 
and  clear  of  the  contagion,  is  so  far  below  the  point  of 
ordinary  conversation,  that  he  finds  himself  insulated  in 
every  society.  However,  the  fever  will  not  last.  War, 
land  tax  and  stamp  tax,  are  sedatives  which  must  cool  its 
ardor.  They  will  bring  on  reflection,  and  that,  with  infor 
mation,  is  all  which  our  countrymen  need  to  bring  them 
selves  and  their  affairs  to  rights.  They  are  essentially  Re 
publicans.  They  retain  unadulterated  the  principles  of 
'75,  and  those  who  are  conscious  of  no  change  in  them 
selves  have  nothing  to  fear  in  the  long  run.  It  is  our  duty 
still  to  endeavor  to  avoid  war;  but  if  it  shall  actually  take 
place,  no  matter  by  whom  brought  on,  we  must  defend  our 
selves.  If  our  house  be  on  fire,  without  inquiring  whether  it 
was  fired  from  within  or  without,  we  must  try  to  extinguish 



it.  In  that,  I  have  no  doubt,  we  shall  act  as  one  man.  But 
if  we  can  ward  off  actual  war  till  the  crisis  of  England  is 
over,  I  shall  hope  we  may  escape  it  altogether. 

On  Sectional  Politics — Possibility  of  Division 

To  John   Taylor 

PHILADELPHIA,  June  1,  1798. 

Mr.  Xew  showed  me  your  letter  on  the  subject  of  the  pat 
ent,  which  gave  me  an  opportunity  of  observing  what  you 
said  as  to  the  effect,  with  you,  of  public  proceedings,  and 
that  it  was  not  unwise  now  to  estimate  the  separate  mass  of 
Virginia  and  North  Carolina,  with  a  view  to  their  separate 
existence.  It  is  true  that  we  are  completely  under  the  sad 
dle  of  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut,  and  that  they  ride 
us  very  hard,  cruelly  insulting  our  feelings,  as  well  as  ex 
hausting  our  strength  and  subsistence.  Their  natural 
friends,  the  three  other  Eastern  States  join  them  from  a 
sort  of  family  pride,  and  they  have  the  art  to  divide  certain 
other  parts  of  the  Union,  so  as  to  make  use  of  them  to  gov 
ern  the  whole.  This  is  not  new,  it  is  the  old  practice  of 
despots;  to  use  a  part  of  the  people  to  keep  the  rest  in 
order.  And  those  who  have  once  got  an  ascendancy,  and 
possessed  themselves  of  all  the  resources  of  the  nation,  their 
revenues  and  offices,  have  immense  means  for  retaining  their 
advantage.  But  our  present  situation  is  not  a  natural  one. 
The  republicans,  through  every  part  of  the  Union,  say,  that 
it  was  the  irresistible  influence  and  popularity  of  General 
Washington  played  off  by  the  cunning  of  Hamilton,  which 
turned  the  Government  over  to  anti-republican  hands,  or 
turned  the  republicans  chosen  by  the  people  into  antire- 
publicans.  He  delivered  it  over  to  his  successor  in  this 



state,  and  very  untoward  events  since,  improved  with  great 
artifice,  have  produced  on  the  public  mind  the  impressions 
we  see.  But  still  I  repeat  it,  this  is  not  the  natural  state. 
Time  alone  would  bring  round  an  order  of  things  more  cor 
respondent  to  the  sentiments  of  our  constituents.  But  are 
there  no  events  impending  which  will  do  it  within  a  few 
months  ?  The  crisis  with  England,  the  public  and  authentic 
avowal  of  sentiments  hostile  to  the  leading  principles  of  our 
Constitution,  the  prospect  of  a  war,  in  which  we  shall  stand 
alone,  land-tax,  stamp-tax,  increase  of  public  debt,  etc.  Be 
this  as  it  may,  in  every  free  and  deliberating  society,  there 
miist,  from  the  nature  of  man,  be  opposite  parties,  and  vio 
lent  dissensions  and  discords ;  and  one  of  these,  for  the 
most  part,  must  prevail  over  the  other  for  a  longer  or  short 
er  time.  Perhaps  this  party  division  is  necessary  to  induce 
each  to  watch  and  delate  to  the  people  the  proceedings  of 
the  other.  But  if  on  a  temporary  superiority  of  the  one 
party,  the  other  is  to  resort  to  a  scission  of  the  Union,  no 
federal  government  can  ever  exist.  If  to  rid  ourselves  of 
the  present  rule  of  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut,  we  break 
the  Union,  will  the  evil  stop  there  ?  Suppose  the  New  Eng 
land  States  alone  cut  off,  will  our  nature  be  changed?  Are 
we  not  men  still  to  the  south  of  that,  and  with  all  the  pas 
sions  of  men?  Immediately,  we  shall  see  a  Pennsylvania 
and  a  Virginia  party  arise  in  the  residuary  confederacy,  and 
the  public  mind  will  be  distracted  with  the  same  party 
spirit.  What  a  game  too  will  the  one  party  have  in  their 
hands,  by  eternally  threatening  the  other  that  unless  they  do 
so  and  so,  they  will  join  their  Northern  neighbors.  If  we 
reduce  our  Union  to  Virginia  and  North  Carolina,  immedi 
ately  the  conflict  will  be  established  between  the  representa 
tives  of  these  two  States,  and  they  will  end  by  breaking 
into  their  simple  units.  Seeing,  therefore,  that  an  associa 
tion  of  men  who  will  not  quarrel  with  one  another  is  a  thing 


which  never  yet  existed,  from  the  greatest  confederacy  of 
nations  down  to  a  town  meeting  or  a  vestry;  seeing  that  we 
must  have  somebody  to  quarrel  with,  I  had  rather  keep  our 
New  England  associates  for  that  purpose,  than  to  see  our 
bickerings  transferred  to  others.  They  are  circumscribed 
within  such  narrow  limits,  and  their  population  so  full,  that 
their  numbers  will  ever  be  the  minority,  and  they  are 
marked,  like  the  Jews,  with  such  a  perversity  of  character, 
as  to  constitute,  from  that  circumstance,  the  natural  division 
of  our  parties.  A  little  patience,  and  we  shall  see  the  reign 
of  witches  pass  over,  their  spells  dissolved,  and  the  people 
recovering  their  true  sight,  restoring  their  government  to  its 
true  principles.  It  is  true,  that  in  the  meantime,  we  are 
suffering  deeply  in  spirit,  and  incurring  the  horrors  of  a 
war,  and  long  oppressions  of  enormous  public  debt.  But 
who  can  say  what  would  be  the  evils  of  a  scission,  and  when 
and  where  they  would  end?  Better  keep  together  as  we 
are,  haul  off  from  Europe  as  soon  as  we  can,  and  from  all 
attachments  to  any  portions  of  it;  and  if  they  show  their 
power  just  sufficiently  to  hoop  us  together,  it  will  be  the 
happiest  situation  in  which  we  can  exist.  If  the  game  runs 
sometimes  against  us  at  home,  we  must  have  patience  till 
luck  turns,  and  then  we  shall  have  an  opportunity  of  win 
ning  back  the  principles  we  have  lost.  For  this  is  a  game 
where  principles  are  the  stake.  Better  luck,  therefore,  to  us 
all,  and  health,  happiness  and  friendly  salutations  to  your 
self.  Adieu. 



On  Public  Debt 

To  John  Taylor 

MONTICELLO,  November  26,  1798. 

I  wish  it  were  possible  to  obtain  a  single  amendment  to 
our  Constitution.  I  would  be  willing  to  depend  on  that 
alone  for  the  reduction  of  the  administration  of  our  govern 
ment  to  the  genuine  principles  of  its  Constitution ;  I  mean 
an  additional  article,  taking  from  the  federal  government 
the  power  of  borrowing.  I  now  deny  their  power  of  making 
paper  money  or  anything  else  a  legal  tender.  I  know  that 
to  pay  all  proper  expenses  within  the  year,  would,  in  case  of 
war,  be  hard  on  us.  But  not  so  hard  as  ten  wars  instead  of 
one.  For  wars  would  be  reduced  in  that  proportion;  besides 
that  the  State  governments  would  be  free  to  lend  their 
credit  in  borrowing  quotas.  For  the  present,  I  should  be 
for  resolving  the  alien  and  sedition  laws  to  be  against  the 
Constitution  and  merely  void,  and  for  addressing  the  other 
States  to  obtain  similar  declarations ;  and  I  would  not  do 
anything  at  this  moment  which  should  commit  us  further, 
but  reserve  ourselves  to  shape  our  future,  measures  or  no 
measures,  by  the  events  which  may  happen.  It  is  a  sin 
gular  phenomenon,  that  while  our  State  governments  are 
the  very  best  in  the  world,  without  exception  or  comparison, 
our  General  Government  has,  in  the  rapid  course  of  nine 
or  ten  years,  become  more  arbitrary,  and  has  swallowed 
more  of  the  public  liberty  than  even  that  of  England.  I  in 
close  you  a  column,  cut  out  of  a  London  paper,  to  show  you 
that  the  English,  though  charmed  with  our  making  their 
enemies  our  enemies,  yet  blush  and  weep  over  our  sedition 



Resolutions  Relative  to  the  Alien  and  Sedition  Larvs 

1.  Resolved,    That    the    several    States    composing    the 
United  States  of  America,  are  not  united  on  the  principle 
of  unlimited  submission  to  their  General  Government ;  but 
that,  by  a  compact  under  the  style  and  title  of  a  Constitution 
for  the   United   States,  and  of  amendments   thereto,   they 
constituted  a  General  Government  for  special  purposes, — 
delegated  to  that  government  certain  definite  powers,  reserv 
ing,  each  State  to  itself,  the  residuary  mass  of  right  to  their 
own    self-government;    and   that    whensoever    the    General 
Government  assumes  undelegated  powers,  its  acts  are  un- 
authoritative,  void,  and  of  no  force:  that  to  this  compact 
each  State  acceded  as  a  State,  and  is  an  integral  party,  its 
co-States  forming,  as  to  itself,  the  other  party:  that  the  gov 
ernment  created  by  this  compact  was  not  made  the  exclu 
sive  or  final  judge  of  the  extent  of  the  powers  delegated  to 
itself;  since  that  would  have  made  its  discretion,  and  not 
the  Constitution,  the  measure  of  its  powers;  but  that,  as  in 
all  other  cases  of  compact  among  powers  having  no  com 
mon  judge,  each  party  has  an  equal  right  to  judge  for  it 
self,  as  well  of  infractions  as  of  the  mode  and  measure  of 

2.  Resolved,  That  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States, 
having  delegated  to  Congress  a  power  to  punish  treason, 
counterfeiting  the  securities  and  current  coin  of  the  United 
States,  piracies,  and  felonies  committed  on  the  high  seas, 
and  offences  against  the  law  of  nations,  and  no  other  crimes 
whatsoever;  and  it  being  true  as  a  general  principle,  and 
one  of  the  amendments  to  the  Constitution  having  also  de 
clared,  that  "the  powers  not  delegated  to  the  United  States 
by  the  Constitution,  nor  prohibited  by  it  to  the  States,  are 
reserved  to  the  States  respectively,  or  to  the  people,"  there- 



fore  the  act  of  Congress,  passed  on  the  llth  day  of  July, 
1798,  and  intituled  "An  Act  in  addition  to  the  act  inti 
tuled  An  Act  for  the  punishment  of  certain  crimes  against 
the  United  States,"  as  also  the  act  passed  by  them 
on  the  -  -  day  of  June,  1798,  intituled  "An  Act  to 
punish  frauds  committed  on  the  bank  of  the  United  States," 
(and  all  their  other  ?cts  which  assume  to  create,  define,  or 
punish  crimes,  other  than  those  so  enumerated  in  the  Con 
stitution),  are  altogether  void,  and  of  no  force;  and  that  the 
power  to  create,  define,  and  punish  such  other  crimes  is  re 
served,  and,  of  right,  appertains  solely  and  exclusively  to 
the  respective  States,  each  within  its  own  territory. 

3.  Resolved,  That  it  is  true  as  a  general  principle,  and  is 
also  expressly  declared  by  one  of  the  amendments  to  the 
Constitution,  that  "the  powers  not  delegated  to  the  United 
States  by  the  Constitution,  nor  prohibited  by  it  to  the  States, 
are  reserved  to  the  States  respectively,  or  to  the  people" ; 
and  that  no  power  over  the  freedom  of  religion,  freedom  of 
speech,  or  freedom  of  the  press  being  delegated  to  the 
United  States  by  the  Constitution,  nor  prohibited  by  it  to  the 
States,  all  lawful  powers  respecting  the  same  did  of  right 
remain,  and  were  reserved  to  the  States  or  the  people: 
that  thus  was  manifested  their  determination  to  retain  to 
themselves  the  right  of  judging  how  far  the  licentiousness 
of  speech  and  of  the  press  may  be  abridged  without  les 
sening  their  useful  freedom,  and  how  far  those  abuses 
which  cannot  be  separated  from  their  use  should  be  toler 
ated,  rather  than  the  use  be  destroyed.  And  thus  also 
they  guarded  against  all  abridgment  by  the  United  States 
of  the  freedom  of  religious  opinions  and  exercises,  and 
retained  to  themselves  the  right  of  protecting  the  same, 
as  this  State,  by  a  law  passed  on  the  general  demand  of 
its  citizens,  had  already  protected  them  from  all  hu 
man  restraint  or  interference.  And  that  in  addition  to  this 



general  principle  and  express  declaration,  another  and 
more  special  provision  has  been  made  by  one  of  the  amend 
ments  to  the  Constitution,  which  expressly  declares,  that 
"Congress  shall  make  no  law  respecting  an  establishment  of 
religion,  or  prohibiting  the  free  exercise  thereof,  or  abridg 
ing  the  freedom  of  speech  or  of  the  press :  "  thereby  guard 
ing  in  the  same  sentence,  and  under  the  same  words,  the  free 
dom  of  religion,  of  speech,  and  of  the  press :  insomuch,  that 
whatever  violated  either,  throws  down  the  sanctuar}^  which 
covers  the  others,  and  that  libels,  falsehood,  and  defamation, 
equally  with  heresy  and  false  religion,  are  withheld  from 
the  cognizance  of  federal  tribunals.  That,  therefore,  the 
act  of  Congress  of  the  United  States,  passed  on  the  llth 
day  of  July,  1798,  intituled  "An  Act  in  addition  to  the  act 
intituled  An  Act  for  the  punishment  of  certain  crimes 
against  the  United  States,"  which  does  abridge  the  freedom 
of  the  press,  is  not  law,  but  is  altogether  void,  and  of  no 

4.  Resolved,  That  alien  friends  are  under  the  jurisdiction 
and  protection  of  the  laws  of  the  State  wherein  they  are  ? 
that  no  power  over  them  has  been  delegated  to  the  United 
States,  nor  prohibited  to  the  individual  States,  distinct  from 
their  power  over  citizens.  And  it  being  true  as  a  general 
principle,  and  one  of  the  amendments  to  the  Constitution 
having  also  declared,  that  "the  powers  not  delegated  to 
the  United  States  by  the  Constitution,  nor  prohibited  by  it 
to  the  States,  are  reserved  to  the  States  respectively,  or 
to  the  people,"  the  act  of  the  Congress  of  the  United 
States,  passed  on  the  —  day  of  July,  1798,  intituled  "An 
Act  concerning  aliens,"  which  assumes  powers  over  alien 
friends,  not  delegated  by  the  Constitution,  is  not  law,  but  is 
altogether  void,  and  of  no  force.  (....) 

7.  Resolved,  That  the  construction  applied  by  the  Gen 
eral  Government  (as  is  evidenced  by  sundry  of  their  pro- 



ceedings)  to  those  parts  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States  which  delegate  to  Congress  a  power  "to  lay  and  col 
lect  taxes,  duties,  imports,  and  excises,  to  pay  the  debts,  and 
provide  for  the  common  defence  and  general  welfare  of  the 
United  States,"  and  "to  make  all  laws  which  shall  be  nec 
essary  and  proper  for  carrying  into  execution  the  powers 
vested  by  the  Constitution  in  the  government  of  the 
United  States,  or  in  any  department  or  officer  thereof,"  goes 
to  the  destruction  of  all  limits  prescribed  to  their  power  by 
the  Constitution:  that  words  meant  by  the  instrument  to  be 
subsidiary  only  to  the  execution  of  limited  powers,  ought  not 
to  be  so  construed  as  themselves  to  give  unlimited  powers, 
nor  a  part  to  be  so  taken  as  to  destroy  the  whole  residue  of 
that  instrument:  that  the  proceedings  of  the  General  Gov 
ernment  under  color  of  these  articles,  will  be  a  fit  and  neces 
sary  subject  of  revisal  and  correction,  at  a  time  of  greater 
tranquillity,  while  those  specified  in  the  preceding  resolu 
tions  call  for  immediate  redress. 

8.  Resolved,  That  a  committee  of  conference  and  corre 
spondence  be  appointed,  who  shall  have  in  charge  to  com 
municate  the  preceding  resolutions  to  the  legislatures  of  the 
several  States ;  to  assure  them  that  this  commonwealth  con 
tinues  in  the  same  esteem  of  their  friendship  and  union 
which  it  has  manifested  from  that  moment  at  which  a  com 
mon  danger  first  suggested  a  common  union:  that  it  consid 
ers  union,  for  specified  national  purposes,  and  particularly 
to  those  specified  in  their  late  federal  compact,  to  be  friend 
ly  to  the  peace,  happiness  and  prosperity  of  all  the  States: 
that  faithful  to  that  compact,  according  to  the  plain  intent 
and  meaning  in  which  it  was  understood  and  acceded  to  by 
the  several  parties,  it  is  sincerely  anxious  for  its  preserva 
tion  :  that  it  does  also  believe,  that  to  take  from  the  States 
all  the  powers  of  self-government  and  transfer  them  to  a 
general  and  consolidated  government,  without  regard  to  the 



special  delegations  and  reservations  solemnly  agreed  to  in 
that  compact,  is  not  for  the  peace,  happiness  or  prosperity 
of  these  States ;  and  that  therefore  this  commonwealth  is 
determined,  as  it  doubts  not  its  co-States  are,  to  submit  to 
undelegated,  and  consequently  unlimited  powers  in  no  man, 
or  body  of  men  on  earth:  that  in  cases  of  an  abuse  of  the 
delegated  powers,  the  members  of  the  General  Government, 
being  chosen  by  the  people,  a  change  by  the  people  would 
be  the  constitutional  remedy;  but,  where  powers  are  as 
sumed  which  have  not  been  delegated,  a  nullification  of  the 
act  is  the  rightful  remedy:  that  every  State  has  a  natural 
right  in  cases  not  within  the  compact,  (casus  non  foederis), 
to  nullify  of  their  own  authority  all  assumptions  of  power 
by  others  within  their  limits :  that  without  this  right,  they 
would  be  under  the  dominion,  absolute  and  unlimited,  of 
whosoever  might  exercise  this  right  of  judgment  for  them: 
that  nevertheless,  this  commonwealth,  from  motives  of  re 
gard  and  respect  for  its  co-States,  has  wished  to  communi 
cate  with  them  on  the  subject:  that  with  them  alone  it  is 
proper  to  communicate,  they  alone  being  parties  to  the 
compact,  and  solely  authorized  to  judge  in  the  last  resort 
of  the  powers  exercised  under  it,  Congress  being  not  a 
party,  but  merely  the  creature  of  the  compact,  and  sub 
ject  as  to  its  assumptions  of  power  to  the  final  judgment 
of  those  by  whom,  and  for  whose  use  itself  and  its 
powers  were  all  created  and  modified :  that  if  the  acts  be 
fore  specified  should  stand,  these  conclusions  would  flow 
from  them;  that  the  General  Government  may  place  any 
act  they  think  proper  on  the  list  of  crimes,  and  punish 
it  themselves  whether  enumerated  or  not  enumerated  by  the 
Constitution  as  cognizable  by  them:  that  they  may  trans 
fer  its  cognizance  to  the  President,  or  any  other  person, 
who  may  himself  be  the  accuser,  counsel,  judge  and  jury, 
whose  suspicions  may  be  the  evidence,  his  order  the  sen- 



tence,  his  officer  the  executioner,  and  his  breast  the  sole 
record  of  the  transaction:  that  a  very  numerous  and  valua 
ble  description  of  the  inhabitants  of  these  States  being,  by 
this  precedent,  reduced,  as  outlaws,  to  the  absolute  dominion 
of  one  man,  and  the  barrier  of  the  Constitution  thus  swept 
away  from  us  all,  no  rampart  now  remains  against  the  pas 
sions  and  the  powers  of  a  majority  in  Congress  to  protect 
from  a  like  exportation,  or  other  more  grievous  punishment, 
the  minority  of  the  same  body,  the  legislatures,  judges,  gov 
ernors,  and  counsellors  of  the  States,  nor  their  other  peacea 
ble  inhabitants,  who  may  venture  to  reclaim  the  constitu 
tional  rights  and  liberties  of  the  States  and  people,  or  who 
for  other  causes,  good  or  bad,  may  be  obnoxious  to  the  views, 
or  marked  by  the  suspicions  of  the  President,  or  be  thought 
dangerous  to  his  or  their  election,  or  other  interests,  public 
or  personal:  that  the  friendless  alien  has  indeed  been  se 
lected  as  the  safest  subject  of  a  first  experiment;  but  the 
citizen  will  soon  follow,  or  rather,  has  already  followed,  for 
already  has  a  sedition  act  marked  him  as  its  prey:  that  these 
and  successive  acts  of  the  same  character,  unless  arrested  at 
the  threshold,  necessarily  drive  these  States  into  revolution 
and  blood,  and  will  furnish  new  calumnies  against  republi 
can  government,  and  new  pretexts  for  those  who  wish  it  to 
be  believed  that  man  cannot  be  governed  but  by  a  rod  of 
iron :  that  it  would  be  a  dangerous  delusion  were  a  confi 
dence  in  the  men  of  our  choice  to  silence  our  fears  for  the 
safety  of  our  rights :  that  confidence  is  everywhere  the  par 
ent  of  despotism — free  government  is  founded  in  jealousy, 
and  not  in  confidence;  it  is  jealousy  and  not  confidence 
•which  prescribes  limited  constitutions,  to  bind  down  those 
whom  we  are  obliged  to  trust  with  power :  that  our  Constitu 
tion  has  accordingly  fixed  the  limits  to  which,  and  no  fur 
ther,  our  confidence  may  go;  and  let  the  honest  advocate  of 
confidence  read  the  alien  and  sedition  acts,  and  say  if  the 



Constitution  has  not  been  wise  in  fixing  limits  to  the  govern 
ment  it  created,  and  whether  we  should  be  wise  in  destroy 
ing  those  limits.  Let  him  say  what  the  government  is,  if  it 
be  not  a  tyranny,  which  the  men  of  our  choice  have  con 
ferred  on  our  President,  and  the  President  of  our  choice 
has  assented  to,  and  accepted  over  the  friendly  strangers  to 
whom  the  mild  spirit  of  our  country  and  its  laws  have 
pledged  hospitality  and  protection:  that  the  men  of  our 
choice  have  more  respected  the  bare  suspicions  of  the  Presi 
dent,  than  the  solid  right  of  innocence,  the  claims  of  justifi 
cation,  the  sacred  force  of  truth,  and  the  forms  and  sub 
stance  of  law  and  justice.  In  questions  of  power,  then,  let 
no  more  be  heard  of  confidence  in  man,  but  bind  him  down 
from  mischief  by  the  chains  of  the  Constitution.  That  this 
commonwealth  does  therefore  call  on  its  co-States  for  an 
expression  of  their  sentiments  on  the  acts  concerning  aliens, 
and  for  the  punishment  of  certain  crimes  hereinbefore 
specified,  plainly  declaring  whether  these  acts  are  or  are  not 
authorized  by  the  federal  compact.  And  it  doubts  not  that 
their  sense  will  be  so  announced  as  to  prove  their  attach 
ment  unaltered  to  limited  government,  whether  general  or 
particular.  And  that  the  rights  and  liberties  of  their  co- 
States  will  be  exposed  to  no  dangers  by  remaining  embarked 
in  a  common  bottom  with  their  own.  That  they  will  concur 
with  this  commonwealth  in  considering  the  said  acts  as  so 
palpably  against  the  Constitution  as  to  amount  to  an  undis 
guised  declaration  that  that  compact  is  not  meant  to  be  the 
measure  of  the  powers  of  the  General  Government,  but  that 
it  will  proceed  in  the  exercise  over  these  States,  of  all  pow 
ers  whatsoever:  that  they  will  view  this  as  seizing  the 
rights  of  the  States,  and  consolidating  them  in  the  hands  of 
the  General  Government,  with  a  power  assumed  to  bind  the 
States  (not  merely  as  the  cases  made  federal,  casus  feeder- 
is},  but  in  all  cases  whatsoever,  by  laws  made,  not  with  their 



consent,  but  by  others  against  their  consent:  that  this  would 
be  to  surrender  the  form  of  government  we  have  chosen, 
and  live  under  one  deriving  its  powers  from  its  own  will,  and 
not  from  our  authority;  and  that  the  co-States,  recurring  to 
their  natural  right  in  cases  not  made  federal,  will  concur  in 
declaring  these  acts  void,  and  of  no  force,  and  will  each  take 
measures  of  its  own  for  providing  that  neither  these  acts, 
nor  any  others  of  the  General  Government  not  plainly  and 
intentionally  authorized  by  the  Constitution,  shall  be  exer 
cised  within  their  respective  territories. 

9-  Resolved,  That  the  said  committee  be  authorized  to 
communicate  by  writing  or  personal  conferences,  at  any 
times  or  places  whatever,  with  any  person  or  persons  who 
may  be  appointed  by  any  one  or  more  co-States  to  corre 
spond  or  confer  with  them;  and  that  they  lay  their  pro 
ceedings  before  the  next  session  of  Assembly. 

On  Yellow  Fever  and  Growth  of  Cities 

To  Dr.  Benjamin  Rush 

MONTICELLO,  September  23,  1800. 

Dear  Sir:  I  congratulate  you  on  the  healthiness  of  your 
city.  Still  Baltimore,  Norfolk  and  Providence  admonish 
us  that  we  are  not  clear  of  our  new  scourge.  When  great 
evils  happen,  I  am  in  the  habit  of  looking  out  for  what 
good  may  arise  from  them  as  consolations  to  us,  and  Provi 
dence  has  in  fact  so  established  the  order  of  things,  as  that 
most  evils  are  the  means  of  producing  some  good.  The  yel 
low  fever  will  discourage  the  growth  of  great  cities  in  our 
nation,  and  I  view  great  cities  as  pestilential  to  the  morals, 
the  health  and  the  liberties  of  man.  True,  they  nourish 
some  of  the  elegant  arts,  but  the  useful  ones  can  thrive  else- 



where,  and  less  perfection  in  the  others,  with  more  health, 
virtue  and  freedom,  would  be  my  choice. 

First  Inauguration  Address — March  4,  1801 

Friends  and  Fellow  Citizens: — Called  upon  to  undertake 
the  duties  of  the  first  executive  office  of  our  country,  I  avail 
myself  of  the  presence  of  that  portion  of  my  fellow-citizens 
which  is  here  assembled,  to  express  my  grateful  thanks  for 
the  favor  with  which  they  have  been  pleased  to  look  toward 
me,  to  declare  a  sincere  consciousness  that  the  task  is  above 
my  talents,  and  that  I  approach  it  with  those  anxious  and 
awful  presentiments  which  the  greatness  of  the  charge  and 
the  weakness  of  my  powers  so  justly  inspire.  A  rising  na 
tion,  spread  over  a  wide  and  fruitful  land,  traversing  all  the 
seas  with  the  rich  productions  of  their  industry,  engaged  in 
commerce  with  nations  who  feel  power  and  forget  right,  ad 
vancing  rapidly  to  destinies  beyond  the  reach  of  mortal  eye 
— when  I  contemplate  these  transcendent  objects,  and  see 
the  honor,  the  happiness,  and  the  hopes  of  this  beloved 
country  committed  to  the  issue  and  the  auspices  of  this  day, 
I  shrink  from  the  contemplation,  and  humble  myself  before 
the  magnitude  of  the  undertaking.  Utterly  indeed,  should 
I  despair,  did  not  the  presence  of  many  whom  I  here  see 
remind  me,  that  in  the  other  high  authorities  provided  by 
our  constitution,  I  shall  find  resources  of  wisdom,  of  virtue, 
and  of  zeal,  on  which  to  rely  under  all  difficulties.  To  you, 
then,  gentlemen,  who  are  charged  with  the  sovereign  func 
tions  of  legislation,  and  to  those  associated  with  you,  I  look 
with  encouragement  for  that  guidance  and  support  which 
may  enable  us  to  steer  with  safety  the  vessel  in  which  we 
are  all  embarked  amid  the  conflicting  elements  of  a  troubled 



During  the  contest  of  opinion  through  which  we  have 
passed,  the  animation  of  discussion  and  of  exertions  has 
sometimes  worn  an  aspect  which  might  impose  on  strangers 
unused  to  think  freely  and  to  speak  and  to  write  what  they 
think;  but  this  being  now  decided  by  the  voice  of  the  nation, 
announced  according  to  the  rules  of  the  constitution,  all 
will,  of  course,  arrange  themselves  under  the  will  of  the  law, 
<°.nd  unite  in  common  efforts  for  the  common  good.  ••.All,  too, 
will  bear  in  mind  this  sacred  principle,  that  though  the  will 
of  the  majority  is  in  all  cases  to  prevail,  that  will,  to  be 
rightful,  must  be  reasonable;  that  the  minority  possess  their 
equal  rights,  which  equal  laws  must  protect,  nad  to  violate 
which  would  be  oppression.  Let  us,  then,  fellow-citizens, 
unite  with  one  heart  and  one  mind.  Let  us  restore  to  social 
intercourse  that  harmony  and  affection  without  which  liberty 
and  even  life  itself  are  but  dreary  things.  And  let  us  reflect 
that  having  banished  from  our  land  that  religious  intolerance 
under  which  mankind  so  long  bled  and  suffered,  we  have  yet 
gained  little  if  we  countenance  a  political  intolerance  as 
despotic,  as  wicked,  and  capable  of  as  bitter  and  bloody  per 
secutions.  During  the  throes  and  convulsions  of  the  ancient 
Avorld,  during  the  agonizing  spasms  of  infuriated  man,  seek 
ing  through  blood  and  slaughter  his  long-lost  liberty,  it 
was  not  wonderful  that  the  agitation  of  the  billows  should 
reach  even  this  distant  and  peaceful  shore;  that  this  should 
be  more  felt  and  feared  by  some  and  less  by  others ;  that 
this  should  divide  opinions  as  to  measures  of  safety.  But 
every  difference  of  opinion  is  not  a  difference  of  principle. 
AVe  have  called  by  different  names  brethren  of  the  same 
principle.  AVe  are  all  republicans — we  are  federalists.  If 
there  be  any  among  us  who  would  wish  to  dissolve  this 
Union  or  to  change  its  republican  form,  let  them  stand  un 
disturbed  as  monuments  of  the  safety  with  which  error  of 
opinion  may  be  tolerated  where  reason  is  left  free  to  combat 



it.  I  know,  indeed,  that  some  honest  men  fear  that  a  repub 
lican  government  cannot  be  strong;  that  this  government  is 
not  strong  enough.  But  would  the  honest  patriot,  in  the  full 
tide  of  successful  experiment,  abandon  a  government  which 
has  so  far  kept  us  free  and  firm,  on  the  theoretic  and  vi 
sionary  fear  that  this  government,  the  world's  best  hope, 
may  by  possibility  want  energy  to  preserve  itself?  I  trust 
not.  I  believe  this,  on  the  contrary,  the  strongest  govern 
ment  on  earth.  I  believe  it  is  the  only  one  where  every  man, 
at  the  call  of  the  laws,  would  fly  to  the  standard  of  the  law, 
and  would  meet  invasions  of  the  public  order  as  his  own 
personal  concern.  Sometimes  it  is  said  that  man  cannot  be 
trusted  with  the  government  of  himself.  Can  he,  then,  be 
trusted  with  the  government  of  others?  Or  have  we  found 
angels  in  the  forms  of  kings  to  govern  him?  Let  history 
answer  this  question. 

Let  us,  then,  with  courage  and  confidence  pursue  our  own 
federal  and  republican  principles,  our  attachment  to  our 
union  and  representative  government.  Kindly  separated  by 
nature  and  a  wide  ocean  from  the  exterminating  havoc  of 
one  quarter  of  the  globe;  too  high-minded  to  endure  the 
degradations  of  the  others;  possessing  a  chosen  country, 
with  room  enough  for  our  descendants  to  the  hundredth  and 
thousandth  generation;  entertaining  a  due  sense  of  our 
equal  right  to  the  use  of  our  own  faculties,  to  the  acquisi 
tions  of  our  industry,  to  honor  and  confidence  from  our  fel 
low-citizens,  resulting  not  from  birth  but  from  our  actions 
and  their  sense  of  them;  enlightened  by  a  benign  religion, 
professed,  indeed,  and  practised  in  various  forms,  yet  all 
of  them  including  honesty,  truth,  temperance,  gratitude,  and 
the  love  of  man ;  acknowledging  and  adoring  an  overruling 
Providence,  which  by  all  its  dispensations  proves  that  it  de 
lights  in  the  happiness  of  man  here  and  his  greater  happi 
ness  hereafter;  with  all  these  blessings,  what  more  is  neces- 



sary  to  make  us  a  happy  and  prosperous  people  ?  Still  one 
thing  more,  fellow  citizens— a  wise  and  frugal  government, 
which  shall  restrain  men  from  injuring  one  another,  which 
shall  leave  them  otherwise  free  to  regulate  their  own  pur 
suits  of  industry  and  improvement,  and  shall  not  take  from 
the  mouth  of  labor  the  bread  it  has  earned.  This  is  the 
sum  of  good  government,  and  this  is  necessary  to  close  the 
circle  of  our  felicities. 

About  to  enter,  fellow  citizens,  on  the  exercise  of  duties 
which  comprehend  everything  dear  and  valuable  to  you,  it  is 
proper  that  you  should  understand  what  I  deem  the  essen 
tial  principles  of  our  government,  and  consequently  those 
which  ought  to  shape  its  administration.  I  will  compress 
them  within  the  narrowest  compass  they  will  bear,  stating 
the  general  principle,  but  not  all  its  limitations.  Equal  and 
exact  justice  to  all  men,  of  whatever  state  or  persuasion,  re 
ligious  or  political;  peace,  commerce,  and  honest  friendship, 
with  all  nations — entangling  alliances  with  none;  the  sup 
port  of  the  state  governments  in  all  their  rights,  as  the  most 
competent  administrations  for  our  domestic  concerns  and 
the  surest  bulwarks  against  anti-republican  tendencies ;  the 
preservation  of  the  General  Government  in  its  whole  con 
stitutional  vigor,  as  the  sheet-anchor  of  our  peace  at  home 
and  safety  abroad;  a  jealous  care  of  the  right  of  election  by 
the  people — a  mild  and  safe  corrective  of  abuses  which  are 
lopped  by  the  sword  of  the  revolution  where  peaceable  reme 
dies  are  unprovided;  absolute  acquiescence  in  the  decisions 
of  the  majority — the  vital  principle  of  republics,  from 
•which  there  is  no  appeal  but  to  force  the  vital  principle  and 
immediate  parent  of  despotism;  a  well-disciplined  militia — 
our  best  reliance  in  peace  and  for  the  first  moments  of  war, 
till  regulars  may  relieve  them;  the  supremacy  of  the  civil 
over  the  military  authority ;  economy  in  the  public  expense, 
that  labor  may  be  lightly  burdened ;  the  honest  payment  of 



our  debts  and  sacred  preservation  of  the  public  faith;  en 
couragement  of  agriculture,  and  of  commerce  as  its  hand 
maid  ;  the  diffusion  of  information  and  the  arraignment  of 
all  abuses  at  the  bar  of  public  reason;  freedom  of  religion; 
freedom  of  the  press ;  freedom  of  person  under  the  pro 
tection  of  the  habeas  corpus;  and  trial  by  juries  impartially 
selected — these  principles  form  the  bright  constellation 
which  has  gone  before  us,  and  guided  our  steps  through  an 
age  of  revolution  and  reformation.  The  wisdom  of  our 
sages  and  the  blood  of  our  heroes  have  been  devoted  to  their 
attainment.  They  should  be  the  creed  of  our  political  faith 
— the  text  of  civil  instruction — the  touchstone  by  which  to 
try  the  services  of  those  we  trust;  and  should  we  wander 
from  them  in  moments  of  error  or  alarm,  let  us  hasten  to 
retrace  our  steps  and  to  regain  the  road  which  alone  leads  to 
peace,  liberty,  and  safety. 

I  repair,  then,  fellow-citizens,  to  the  post  you  have  as 
signed  me.  With  experience  enough  in  subordinate  offices 
to  have  seen  the  difficulties  of  this,  the  greatest  of  all,  I 
have  learned  to  expect  that  it  will  rarely  fall  to  the  lot  of 
imperfect  man  to  retire  from  this  station  with  the  reputation 
and  the  favor  which  bring  him  into  it.  Without  pretensions 
to  that  high  confidence  reposed  in  our  first  and  great  revolu 
tionary  character,  whose  preeminent  services  had  entitled 
him  to  the  first  place  in  his  country's  love,  and  destined  for 
him  the  fairest  page  in  the  volume  of  faithful  history,  I  ask 
so  much  confidence  only  as  may  give  firmness  and  effect  to 
the  legal  administration  of  your  affairs.  I  shall  often  go 
wrong  through  defect  of  judgment.  When  right,  I  shall 
often  be  thought  wrong  by  those  whose  positions  will  not 
command  a  view  of  the  whole  ground.  I  ask  your  indul 
gence  for  my  own  errors,  which  will  never  be  intentional; 
and  your  support  against  the  errors  of  others,  who  may  con 
demn  what  they  would  not  if  seen  in  all  its  parts.  The 



approbation  implied  by  your  suffrage  is  a  consolation  to 
me  for  the  past;  and  my  future  solicitude  will  be  to  retain 
the  good  opinion  of  those  who  have  bestowed  it  in  advance, 
to  conciliate  that  of  others  by  doing  them  all  the  good  in 
my  power,  and  to  be  instrumental  to  the  happiness  and  free 
dom  of  all. 

Relying,  then,  on  the  patronage  of  your  good-will,  I  ad 
vance  with  obedience  to  the  work,  ready  to  retire  from  it 
whenever  you  become  sensible  how  much  better  choice  it  is 
in  your  power  to  make.  And  may  that  Infinite  Power  which 
rules  the  destinies  of  the  universe,  lead  our  councils  to  what 
is  best,  and  give  them  a  favorable  issue  for  your  peace  and 

First  Message  to  Congress 

DECEMBER  8,  1801. 

Sir:  The  circumstances  under  which  we  find  ourselves 
placed  rendering  inconvenient  the  mode  heretofore  prac 
tised  of  making  by  personal  address  the  first  communica 
tion  between  the  legislative  and  executive  branches,  I  have 
adopted  that  by  message,  as  used  on  all  subsequent  occa 
sions  through  the  session.  In  doing  this,  I  have  had  prin 
cipal  regard  to  the  convenience  of  the  legislature,  to  the 
economy  of  their  time,  to  their  relief  from  the  embarrass 
ment  of  immediate  answers  on  subjects  not  yet  fully  before 
them,  and  to  the  benefits  thence  resulting  to  the  public  af 
fairs.  Trusting  that  a  procedure  founded  in  these  motives 
will  meet  their  approbation,  I  beg  leave,  through  you,  sir,  to 
communicate  the  inclosed  message,  with  the  documents  ac 
companying  it,  to  the  honorable  the  senate,  and  pray  you 
to  accept,  for  yourself  and  them,  the  homage  of  my  high 
respect  and  consideration. 

The  Hon.  the  President  of  the  Senate. 

Tribute  to  Samuel  Adams 

WASHINGTON,   March   29,    1801. 

I  addressed  a  letter  to  you,  my  very  dear  and  ancient 
friend,  on  the  4th  of  March :  not  indeed  to  you  by  name,  but 
through  the  medium  of  some  of  my  felloAV-citizens,  whom 
occasion  called  on  me  to  address.  In  meditating  the  matter 
of  that  address,  I  often  asked  myself,  is  this  exactly  in  the 
spirit  of  the  patriarch,  Samuel  Adams?  Is  it  as  he  would 
express  it?  Will  he  approve  of  it?  I  have  felt  a  great 
deal  for  our  country  in  the  times  we  have  seen.  But  indi 
vidually  for  no  one  so  much  as  yourself.  When  I  have  been 
told  that  you  were  avoided,  insulted,  frowned  on,  I  could 
but  ejaculate,  "P'ather,  forgive  them,  for  they  know  not 
what  they  do."  I  confess  I  felt  an  indignation  for  you, 
which  for  myself  I  have  been  able,  under  every  trial,  to 
keep  entirely  passive.  However,  the  storm  is  over,  and  we 
are  in  port.  The  ship  was  not  rigged  for  the  service  she  was 
put  on.  We  will  show  the  smoothness  of  her  motions  on  her 
republican  tack.  I  hope  we  shall  once  more  see  harmony 
restored  among  our  citizens,  and  an  entire  oblivion  of  past 
feuds.  Some  of  the  leaders  who  have  most  committed  them 
selves  cannot  come  into  this.  But  I  hope  the  great  body  of 
our  fellow-citizens  will  do  it.  I  will  sacrifice  everything  but 
principle  to  procure  it.  A  few  examples  of  justice  on  offi 
cers  who  have  perverted  their  functions  to  the  oppression 
of  their  fellow-citizens,  must,  in  justice  to  those  citizens,  be 
made.  But  opinion,  and  the  just  maintenance  of  it,  shall 
never  be  a  crime  in  my  view,  nor  bring  injury  on  the  indi 
vidual.  Those  whose  misconduct  in  office  ought  to  have  pro 
duced  their  removal  even  by  my  predecessor,  must  not  be 
protected  by  the  delicacy  due  only  to  honest  men.  How 
much  I  lament  that  time  has  deprived  me  of  your  aid!  It 



would  have  been  a  day  of  glory  which  should  have  cnlled 
you  to  the  first  office  of  the  administration.  But  give  us 
your  counsel,  my  friend,  and  give  us  your  blessing;  and  be 
assured  that  there  exists  not  in  the  heart  of  man  a  more 
faithful  esteem  than  mine  to  you,  and  that  I  shall  ever  bear 
you  the  most  affectionate  veneration  and  respect. 

On  the  Policy  as  to  Purchase  of  Louisiana 

To  the  United  States  Minister  to  France 
(Robert  E.  Livingston^) 

WASHINGTON,  April  18,  1802. 

The  cession  of  Louisiana  and  the  Floridas  by  Spain  to 
France,  works  most  sorely  on  the  United  States.  On  this 
subject  the  Secretary  of  State  has  written  to  you  fully,  yet 
I  cannot  forbear  recurring  to  it  personally,  so  deep  is  the 
impression  it  makes  on  my  mind.  It  completely  reverses  all 
the  political  relations  of  the  United  States,  and  will  form  a 
new  epoch  in  our  political  course.  Of  all  nations  of  any 
consideration,  France  is  the  one  which,  hitherto,  has  offered 
the  fewest  points  on  which  we  could  have  any  conflict  of 
right,  and  the  most  points  of  a  communion  of  interests. 
From  these  causes,  we  have  ever  looked  to  her  as  our 
natural  friend,  as  one  with  which  we  never  could  have  an 
occasion  of  difference.  Her  growth,  therefore,  we  viewed  as 
our  own,  her  misfortunes  ours.  There  is  on  the  globe  one 
single  spot,  the  possessor  of  which  is  our  natural  and  habit 
ual  enemy.  It  is  New  Orleans,  through  which  the  produce 
of  three-eighths  of  our  territory  must  pass  to  market,  and 
from  its  fertility  it  will  erelong  yield  more  than  half  of  our 
whole  produce,  and  contain  more  than  half  of  our  inhabi 
tants.  France,  placing  herself  in  that  door,  assumes  to  us 



the  attitude  of  defiance.  Spain  might  have  retained  it  quiet 
ly  for  years.  Her  pacific  dispositions,  her  feeble  state, 
would  induce  her  to  increase  our  facilities  there,  so  that  her 
possession  of  the  place  would  be  hardly  felt  by  us,  and  it 
would  not,  perhaps,  be  very  long  before  some  circumstance 
might  arise,  which  might  make  the  cession  of  it  to  us  the 
price  of  something  of  more  worth  to  her.  Not  so  can  it  ever 
be  in  the  hands  of  France:  the  impetuosity  of  her  temper, 
the  energy  and  restlessness  of  her  character,  placed  in  a 
point  of  eternal  friction  with  us,  and  our  character,  which, 
though  quiet  and  loving  peace  and  the  pursuit  of  wealth,  is 
high-minded,  despising  wealth  in  competition  with  insult  or 
injury,  enterprising  and  energetic  as  any  nation  on  earth; 
these  circumstances  render  it  impossible  that  France  and 
the  United  States  can  continue  long  friends,  when  they  meet 
in  so  irritable  a  position.  They,  as  well  as  we,  must  be 
blind  if  they  do  not  see  this ;  and  we  must  be  very  improvi 
dent  if  we  do  not  begin  to  make  arrangements  on  that  hy 
pothesis.  The  day  that  France  takes  possession  of  New  Or 
leans,  fixes  the  sentence  which  is  to  restrain  her  forever 
within  her  low-water  mark.  It  seals  the  union  of  two  na 
tions,  who.  in  conjunction,  can  maintain  exclusive  possession 
of  the  ocean.  From  that  moment,  we  must  marry  ourselves 
to  the  British  fleet  and  nation.  We  must  turn  all  our  atten 
tion  to  a  maritime  force,  for  which  our  resources  place  us  on 
very  high  ground ;  and  having  formed  and  connected  to 
gether  a  power  which  may  render  reenforcement  of  her  set 
tlements  here  impossible  to  France,  make  the  first  cannon 
which  shall  be  fired  in  Europe  the  signal  for  the  tearing  up 
any  settlement  she  may  have  made,  and  for  holding  the  two 
continents  of  America  in  sequestration  for  the  common  pur 
poses  of  the  United  British  and  American  nations.  This  is 
not  a  state  of  things  we  seek  or  desire.  It  is  one  which  this 
measure,  if  adopted  by  France,  forces  on  us  as  necessarily, 



as  any  other  cause,  by  the  laws  of  nature,  brings  on  its  nec 
essary  effect.  It  is  not  irom  a  fear  of  France  that  we  de 
precate  this  measure  proposed  by  her.  For  however  greater 
her  force  is  than  ours,  compared  in  the  abstract,  it  is  noth 
ing  in  comparison  of  ours,  when  to  be  exerted  on  our  soil. 
But  it  is  from  a  sincere  love  of  peace,  and  a  firm  persuasion, 
that  bound  to  France  by  the  interests  and  the  strong  sympa 
thies  still  existing  in  the  minds  of  our  citizens,  and  holding 
relative  positions  which  insure  their  continuance,  we  are  se 
cure  of  a  long  course  of  peace.  Whereas,  the  change  of 
friends,  which  will  be  rendered  necessary  if  France  changes 
that  position,  embarks  us  necessarily  as  a  belligerent  power 
in  the  first  war  of  Europe.  In  that  case,  France  will  have 
held  possession  of  New  Orleans  during  the  interval  of  a 
peace,  long  or  short,  at  the  end  of  which  it  will  be  wrested 
from  her.  Will  this  short-lived  possession  have  been  an 
equivalent  to  her  for  the  transfer  of  such  a  weight  into  the 
scale  of  her  enemy  ?  Will  not  the  amalgamation  of  a  young, 
thriving  nation,  continue  to  that  enemy  the  health  and  force 
which  are  at  present  so  evidently  on  the  decline?  And  will 
a  few  years'  possession  of  New  Orleans  add  equally  to 
the  strength  of  France?  She  may  say  she  needs  Louisiana 
for  the  supply  of  her  West  Indies.  She  does  not  need  it  in 
time  of  peace,  and  in  war  she  could  not  depend  on  them,  be 
cause  they  would  be  so  easily  intercepted.  I  should  suppose 
that  all  these  considerations  might,  in  some  proper  form,  be 
brought  into  view  of  the  Government  of  France.  Though 
stated  by  us,  it  ought  not  to  give  offence;  because  we  do  not 
bring  them  forward  as  a  menace,  but  as  consequences  not 
controllable  by  us,  but  inevitable  from  the  course  of  things. 
We  mention  them,  not  as  things  which  we  desire  by  any 
means,  but  as  things  we  deprecate;  and  we  beseech  a  friend 
to  look  forward  and  to  prevent  them  for  our  common  inter 



If  France  considers  Louisiana,  however,  as  indispensable 
for  her  views,  she  might  perhaps  be  willing  to  look  about 
for  arrangements  which  might  reconcile  it  to  our  interests. 
If  anything  could  do  this,  it  would  be  the  ceding  to  us  the 
island  of  New  Orleans  and  the  Floridas.  This  would  cer 
tainly,  in  a  great  degree,  remove  the  causes  of  jarring  and 
irritation  between  us,  and  perhaps  for  such  a  length  of  time, 
as  might  produce  other  means  of  making  the  measure  per 
manently  conciliatory  to  our  interests  and  friendships.  It 
would,  at  any  rate,  relieve  us  from  the  necessity  of  taking 
immediate  measures  for  countervailing  such  an  operation 
by  arrangements  in  another  quarter.  But  still  we  should 
consider  New  Orleans  and  the  Floridas  as  no  equivalent 
for  the  risk  of  a  quarrel  with  France,  produced  by  her 
vicinage.  .  .  . 

Every  eye  in  the  United  States  is  now  fixed  on  the  affairs 
of  Louisiana.  Perhaps  nothing  since  the  revolutionary  war, 
has  produced  more  uneasy  sensations  through  the  body  of 
the  nation.  Notwithstanding  temporary  bickerings  have 
taken  place  with  France,  she  has  still  a  strong  hold  on  the 
affections  of  our  citizens  generally.  I  have  thought  it  not 
amiss,  by  way  of  supplement  to  the  letters  of  the 
Secretary  of  State,  to  write  you  this  private  one,  to  impress 
you  with  the  importance  we  affix  to  this  transaction.  I  pray 
you  to  cherish  Dupont.  He  has  the  best  disposition  for  the 
continuance  of  friendship  between  the  two  nations,  and 
perhaps  you  may  be  able  to  make  a  good  use  of  him. 

Accept  assurances  of  my  affectionate  esteem  and  high 


On  the  Colonization  of  Slaves  in  Sierra  Leone 

To  Rufus  King 

WASHINGTON,  July  13,  1802. 

Dear  Sir:  The  course  of  things  in  the  neighboring  isl 
ands  of  the  West  Indies,  appear  to  have  given  a  consider 
able  impulse  to  the  minds  of  the  slaves  in  different  parts 
of  the  United  States.  A  great  disposition  to  insurgency 
has  manifested  itself  among  them,  which,  in  one  instance, 
in  the  State  of  Virginia,  broke  out  into  actual  insurrec 
tion.  This  was  easily  suppressed;  but  many  of  those  con 
cerned  (between  twenty  and  thirty,  I  believe)  fell  victims 
to  the  law.  So  extensive  an  execution  could  not  but  excite 
sensibility  in  the  public  mind,  and  begat  a  regret  that  the 
laws  had  not  provided  for  such  cases,  some  alternative, 
combining  more  mildness  with  equal  efficacy.  The  Legis 
lature  of  the  State  at  a  subsequent  meeting  took  the  sub 
ject  into  consideration,  and  have  communicated  to  me 
through  the  Governor  of  the  State,  their  wish  that  some 
place  could  be  provided,  out  of  the  limits  of  the  United 
States,  to  which  slaves  guilty  of  insurgency  might  be  trans 
ported  ;  and  they  have  particularly  looked  to  Africa  as 
offering  the  most  desirable  receptacle.  We  might,  for  this 
purpose,  enter  into  negotiations  with  the  natives,  on  some 
part  of  the  coast,  to  obtain  a  settlement;  and,  by  estab 
lishing  an  African  company,  combine  with  it  commercial 
operations,  which  might  not  only  reimburse  expenses,  but 
procure  profit  also.  But  there  being  already  such  an 
establishment  on  that  coast  by  the  English  Sierra  Leone 
company,  made  for  the  express  purpose  of  colonizing  civ 
ilized  blacks  to  that  country,  it  would  seem  better,  by  in 
corporating  our  emigrants  with  theirs,  to  make  one  strong, 



rather  than  two  weak  colonies.  This  would  be  the  more 
desirable  because  the  blacks  settled  at  Sierra  Leone,  hav 
ing  chiefly  gone  from  the  States,,  would  often  receive 
among  those  we  should  send,  their  acquaintances  and  rela 
tives.  The  object  of  this  letter,  therefore,  is  to  ask  the 
favor  of  you  to  enter  into  conference  with  such  persons 
private  and  public  as  would  be  necessary  to  give  us  per 
mission  to  send  thither  the  persons  under  contemplation. 
It  is  material  to  observe  that  they  are  not  felons,  or 
common  malefactors,  but  persons  guilty  of  what  the  safety 
of  society,  under  actual  circumstances,  obliges  us  to  treat 
as  a  crime,  but  which  their  feelings  may  represent  in  a  far 
different  shape.  They  are  such  as  will  be  a  valuable 
acquisition  to  the  settlement  already  existing  there,  and 
well  calculated  to  cooperate  in  the  plan  of  civilization. 

As  the  expense  of  so  distant  a  transportation  would  be 
very  heavy,  and  might  weigh  unfavorably  in  deciding  be 
tween  the  modes  of  punishment,  it  is  very  desirable  that  it 
should  be  lessened  as  much  as  practicable.  If  the  regula 
tions  of  the  place  would  permit  these  emigrants  to  dispose 
of  themselves,  as  the  Germans  and  others  do  who  come  to 
this  country  poor,  by  giving  their  labor  for  a  certain  time 
to  some  one  who  will  pay  their  passage ;  and  if  the  master 
of  the  vessel  could  be  permitted  to  carry  articles  of  com 
merce  from  this  country  and  take  back  others  from  that, 
which  might  yield  him  a  mercantile  profit  sufficient  to 
cover  the  expenses  of  the  voyage,  a  serious  difficulty  would 
be  removed.  I  will  ask  your  attention  therefore  to  ar 
rangements  necessary  for  this  purpose. 

The  consequences  of  permitting  emancipations  to  become 
extensive,  unless  the  condition  of  emigration  be  annexed 
to  them,  furnish  also  matter  of  solicitation  to  the  Legis 
lature  of  Virginia,  as  you  will  perceive  by  their  resolution 
inclosed  to  you.  Although  provision  for  the  settlement  of 



emancipated  negroes  might  perhaps  be  obtainable  nearer 
home  than  Africa,  yet  it  is  desirable  that  we  should  be 
free  to  expatriate  this  description  of  people  also  to  the 
colony  of  Sierra  Leone,  if  considerations  respecting  either 
themselves  or  us  should  render  it  more  expedient.  I  will 
pray  you  therefore  to  get  the  same  permission  extended  to 
the  reception  of  these  as  well  as  the  first  mentioned.  Nor 
will  there  be  a  selection  of  bad  subjects;  the  emancipations, 
for  the  most  part,  being  either  of  the  whole  slaves  of  the 
master,  or  of  such  individuals  as  have  particularly  de 
served  well;  the  latter  is  most  frequent. 

On  Indian  Policy 

To  General  Andrew  Jackson 

WASHINGTON,  February  16',  1803. 

Dear  Sir:  Your  favor  of  the  14th  was  received  on  the 
same  day,  and  will  be  duly  attended  to  in  the  course  of 
our  affairs  with  the  Creeks.  In  keeping  agents  among  the 
Indians,  two  objects  are  principally  in  view:  1.  The  pres 
ervation  of  peace.  2.  The  obtaining  lands.  Toward  ef 
fecting  the  latter  object,  we  consider  the  leading  the  Ind 
ians  to  agriculture  as  the  principal  means  from  which  we 
can  expect  much  effect  in  future.  When  they  shall  cul 
tivate  small  spots  of  earth,  and  see  how  useless  their 
extensive  forests  are,  they  will  sell,  from  time  to  time, 
to  help  out  their  personal  labor  in  stocking  their  farms 
and  procuring  clothes  and  comforts  from  our  trading 
houses.  Toward  the  attainment  of  our  two  objects  of 
peace  and  lands,  it  is  essential  that  our  agent  acquire  that 
sort  of  influence  over  the  Indians,  which  rests  on  confidence. 



On  Religion 

To  Doctor  Benjamin  Rush 

WASHINGTON,  April  21,  1803. 

Dear  Sir:  In  some  of  the  delightful  conversations  with 
you,  in  the  evenings  of  1798-99,  and  which  served  as  an 
anodyne  to  the  afflictions  of  the  crisis  through  which  our 
country  was  then  laboring,  the  Christian  religion  was 
sometimes  our  topic;  and  I  then  promised  you,  that  one 
day  or  other,  I  would  give  you  my  views  of  it.  They 
are  the  result  of  a  life  of  inquiry  and  reflection,  and  very 
different  from  that  anti-Christian  system  imputed  to  me 
by  those  who  know  nothing  of  my  opinions.  To  the  cor 
ruptions  of  Christianity  I  am,  indeed,  opposed;  but  not 
to  the  genuine  precepts  of  Jesus  Himself.  I  am  a  Chris 
tian,  in  the  only  sense  in  which  He  wished  any  one  to  be: 
sincerely  attached  to  His  doctrines,  in  preference  to  all 
others ;  ascribing  to  Himself  every  human  excellence ;  and 
believing  He  never  claimed  any  other.  At  the  short  in 
terval  since  these  conversations,  when  I  could  justifiably 
abstract  my  mind  from  public  affairs,  the  subject  has  been 
under  my  contemplation.  But  the  more  I  considered  it,  the 
more  it  expanded  beyond  the  measure  of  either  my  time 
or  information.  In  the  moment  of  my  late  departure  from 
Monticello,  I  received  from  Dr.  Priestley,  his  little  treatise 
of  "Socrates  and  Jesus  Compared."  This  being  a  section 
of  the  general  view  I  had  taken  of  the  field,  it  became  a 
subject  of  reflection  while  on  the  road,  and  unoccupied 
otherwise.  The  result  was,  to  arrange  in  my  mind  a 
syllabus,  or  outline  of  such  an  estimate  of  the  compara 
tive  merits  of  Christianity,  as  I  wished  to  see  executed  by 
some  one  of  more  leisure  and  information  for  the  task, 


than  myself.  This  I  now  send  you,  as  the  only  discharge 
of  my  promise  I  can  probably  ever  execute.  And  in 
confiding  it  to  you,  I  know  it  will  not  be  exposed  to  the 
malignant  perversions  of  those  who  make  every  word  from 
me  a  text  for  new  misrepresentations  and  calumnies.  I  am 
moreover  averse  to  the  communication  of  my  religious 
tenets  to  the  public,  because  it  would  countenance  the  pre 
sumption  of  those  who  have  endeavored  to  draw  them  be 
fore  that  tribunal,  and  to  seduce  public  opinion  to  erect 
itself  into  that  inquisition  over  the  rights  of  conscience, 
which  the  laws  have  so  justly  proscribed.  It  behooves 
every  man  who  values  liberty  of  conscience  for  himself,  to 
resist  invasions  of  it  in  the  case  of  others,  or  their  case 
may,  by  change  of  circumstances,  become  his  own.  It 
behooves  him,  too,  in  his  own  case,  to  give  no  example  of 
concession,  betraying  the  common  right  of  independent 
opinion,  by  answering  questions  of  faith,  which  the  laws 
have  left  between  God  and  himself.  Accept  my  affection 
ate  salutations. 

Syllabus  of  an  Estimate  of  the  Merit  of  the  Doctrines  of 
Jesus,  compared  with  those  of  others 

In  a  comparative  view  of  the  ethics  of  the  enlightened 
nations  of  antiquity,  of  the  Jews  and  of  Jesus,  no  notice 
should  be  taken  of  the  corruptions  of  reason  among  the 
ancients,  to  wit,  the  idolatry  and  superstition  of  the  vul 
gar,  nor  of  the  corruptions  of  Christianity  by  the  learned 
among  its  professors. 

Let  a  just  view  be  taken  of  the  moral  principles  incul 
cated  by  the  most  esteemed  of  the  sects  of  ancient  phi 
losophy,  or  of  their  individuals ;  particularly  Pythagoras, 
Socrates,  Epicurus,  Cicero,  Epictetus,  Seneca,  Antoninus. 



1.  Philosophers.      1.   Their    precepts    related    chiefly    to 
ourselves,  and  the  government  of  those  passions  which,  un 
restrained,  would  disturb  our  tranquillity  of  mind.     In  this 
branch  of  philosophy  they  were  really  great. 

2.  In  developing  our  duties  to  others,  they  were  short 
and  defective.     They  embraced,  indeed,  the  circles  of  kin 
dred  and  friends,  and  inculcated  patriotism,  or  the  love  of 
our  country  in  the  aggregate,  as  a  primary  obligation:  tow 
ard    our    neighbors    and   countrymen    they   taught   justice, 
but  scarcely  viewed  them  as  within  the  circle  of  benevo 
lence.     Still  less  have  they  inculcated  peace,  charity,  and 
love  to  our  fellow  men,  or  embraced  with  benevolence  the 
whole  family  of  mankind. 

II.  Jews.     1.  Their  system  was  Deism;  that  is,  the  be 
lief  in  one  only  God.     But  their  ideas  of  Him  and  of  His 
attributes  were  degrading  and  injurious. 

2.  Their  ethics  were  not  only  imperfect,  but  often  ir 
reconcilable  with  the  sound  dictates  of  reason  and  morality, 
as  they  respect  intercourse  with  those  around  us;  and 
repulsive  and  anti-social,  as  respecting  other  nations.  They 
needed  reformation,  therefore,  in  an  eminent  degree. 

III.  Jesus.      In   this   state   of  things   among  the   Jews, 
Jesus  appeared.     His  parentage  was  obscure;  His  condition 
poor;  His  education  null;   His  natural  endowments  great; 
His   life  correct  and  innocent;  He  was  meek,  benevolent, 
patient,  firm,  disinterested,  and  of  the  sublimest  eloquence. 

The  disadvantages  under  which  His  doctrines  appear  are 

1.  Like  Socrates  and  Epictetus,  He  wrote  nothing  Him 

2.  But  He  had  not,  like  them,  a  Xenophon  or  an  Arrian 
to  write   for  Him.     I  name  not  Plato,  who  only  used  the 
name  of  Socrates  to  cover  the  whimsies  of  his  own  brain. 
On  the  contrary,  all  the  learned  of  His  country,  intrenched 



in  its  power  and  riches,  were  opposed  to  Him,  lest  His 
labors  should  undermine  their  advantages;  and  the  com 
mitting  to  writing  His  life  and  doctrines  fell  on  unlettered 
and  ignorant  men,  who  wrote,  too,  from  memory,  and  not 
till  long  after  the  transactions  had  passed. 

3.  According  to  the  ordinary  fate  of  those  who  attempt 
to  enlighten  and  reform  mankind,  He  fell  an  early  victim 
to  the  jealousy  and  combination  of  the  altar  and  the  throne, 
at  about  thirty-three  years  of  age,  His  reason  having  not 
yet  attained  the  maximum  of  its  energy,  nor  the  course  of 
His  preaching,  which  was  but  of  three  years  at  most,  pre 
sented    occasions    for    developing    a    complete    system    of 

4.  Hence  the  doctrines  which   He  really  delivered  were 
defective  as  a  whole,  and  fragments  only  of  what  He  did 
deliver  have  come  to  us  mutilated,  misstated,  and  often  un 

5.  They  have  been  still  more  disfigured  by  the  corrup 
tions   of  schismatizing   followers,  who   have   found  an   in 
terest  in  sophisticating  and  perverting  the  simple  doctrines 
He   taught,  by  engrafting   on   them  the   mysticisms   of   a 
Grecian   sophist,    frittering   them   into    subtleties,    and   ob 
scuring   them   with   jargon,   until   they   have   caused    good 
men  to  reject  the  whole  in  disgust,  and  to  view  Jesus  Him 
self  as  an  impostor. 

Notwithstanding  these  disadvantages,  a  system  of 
morals  is  presented  to  us  which,  if  filled  up  in  the  style 
and  spirit  of  the  rich  fragments  He  left  us,  would  be  the 
most  perfect  and  sublime  that  has  ever  been  taught  by  man. 

The  question  of  His  being  a  member  of  the  Godhead, 
or  in  direct  communication  with  it,  claimed  for  Him  by 
some  of  His  followers,  and  denied  by  others,  is  foreign 
to  the  present  view,  which  is  merely  an  estimate  of  the 
intrinsic  merits  of  His  doctrines. 



1.  He  corrected  the  Deism  of  the  Jews,  confirming  them 
in  their  belief  of  one  only  God,  and  giving  them  juster  no 
tions  of  His  attributes  and  government. 

2.  His  moral  doctrines,  relating  to  kindred  and  friends, 
were  more  pure  and  perfect  than  those  of  the  most  correct 
of  the  philosophers,  and  greatly  more  so  than  those  of  the 
Jews;  and  they  went  far  beyond  both  in  inculcating  uni 
versal   philanthropy,  not  only  to  kindred  and   friends,  to 
neighbors   and  countrymen,  but  to  all  mankind,  gathering 
all  into  one  family,  under  the  bonds  of  love,  charity,  peace, 
common  wants,  and  common  aids.     A  development  of  this 
head  will  evince  the  peculiar  superiority  of  the  system  of 
Jesus  over  all  others. 

3.  The  precepts  of  philosophy,  and  of  the  Hebrew  code, 
laid  hold  of  actions  only.     He  pushed  His  scrutinies  into 
the  heart  of  man;  erected  His  tribunal  in  the  region  of  his 
thoughts,  and  purified  the  waters  at  the  fountain-head. 

4.  He   taught,   emphatically,  the   doctrines   of   a   future 
state,  which  was  either  doubted,  or  disbelieved  by  the  Jews; 
and  wielded  it  with  efficacy,  as  an  important  incentive,  sup 
plementary  to  the  other  motives  to  moral  conduct. 

On  the  Constitutionality  of  the  Louisiana 

To  Wilson  C,  Nicholas 

MONTICELLO,  September  7,  1803. 

Dear  Sir:  I  inclose  you  a  letter  from  Monroe  on  the 
subject  of  the  late  treaty.  You  will  observe  a  hint  in  it, 
to  do  without  delay  what  we  are  bound  to  do.  There  is 
reason,  in  the  opinion  of  our  ministers,  to  believe,  that  if 
the  thing  were  to  do  over  again,  it  could  not  be  obtained, 



and  that  if  we  give  the  least  opening  they  will  declare  the 
treaty  void.  A  warning  amounting  to  that  has  been  given 
to  them,  and  an  unusual  kind  of  letter  written  by  their 
minister  to  our  Secretary  of  State,  direct.  Whatever  Con 
gress  shall  think  it  necessary  to  do,  should  be  done  with 
as  little  debate  as  possible,  and  particularly  so  far  as  re 
spects  the  constitutional  difficulty.  I  am  aware  of  the 
force  of  the  observations  you  make  on  the  power  given  by 
the  Constitution  to  Congress,  to  admit  new  States  into  the 
Union,  without  restraining  the  subject  to  the  territory 
then  constituting  the  United  States.  But  when  I  consider 
that  the  limits  of  the  United  States  are  precisely  fixed  by 
the  treaty  of  1783,  that  the  Constitution  expressly  declares 
itself  to  be  made  for  the  United  States,  I  cannot  help 
believing  the  intention  was  not  to  permit  Congress  to  admit 
into  the  Union  new  States,  which  should  be  formed  out  of 
the  territory  for  which,  and  under  whose  authority  alone, 
they  were  then  acting.  I  do  not  believe  it  was  meant  that 
they  might  receive  England,  Ireland,  Holland,  etc.,  into  it, 
which  would  be  the  case  on  your  construction.  When  an 
instrument  admits  two  constructions,  the  one  safe,  the 
other  dangerous,  the  one  precise,  the  other  indefinite,  I 
prefer  that  which  is  safe  and  precise.  I  had  rather  ask  an 
enlargement  of  power  from  the  nation,  where  it  is  found 
necessary,  than  to  assume  it  by  a  construction  which  v/ould 
make  our  powers  boundless.  Our  peculiar  security  is  in 
the  possession  of  a  written  Constitution.  Let  us  not  make 
it  a  blank  paper  by  construction.  I  say  the  same  as  to 
the  opinion  of  those  who  consider  the  grant  of  the  treaty- 
making  power  as  boundless.  If  it  is,  then  we  have  no 
Constitution.  If  it  has  bounds,  they  can  be  no  others  than 
the  definitions  of  the  powers  which  that  instrument  gives. 
It  specifies  and  delineates  the  operations  permitted  to  the 
federal  government,  and  gives  all  the  powers  necessary  to 



carry  these  into  execution.  Whatever  of  these  enumerated 
objects  is  proper  for  a  law,  Congress  may  make  the  law;, 
whatever  is  proper  to  be  executed  by  way  of  a  treaty,  the 
President  and  Senate  may  enter  into  the  treaty;  whatever 
is  to  be  done  by  a  judicial  sentence,  the  judges  may  pass 
the  sentence.  Nothing  is  more  likely  than  that  their  enu 
meration  of  powers  is  defective.  This  is  the  ordinary  case 
of  all  human  works.  Let  us  go  on  then  perfecting  it,  by 
adding,  by  way  of  amendment  to  the  Constitution,  those 
powers  which  time  and  trial  show  are  still  wanting.  But 
it  has  been  taken  too  much  for  granted,  that  by  this  rigor 
ous  construction  the  treaty  power  would  be  reduced  to 
nothing.  I  had  occasion  once  to  examine  its  effect  on  the 
French  treaty,  made  by  the  old  Congress,  and  found  that 
out  of  thirty  odd  articles  which  that  contained,  there  were 
one,  two,  or  three  only  which  could  not  now  be  stipulated 
under  our  present  Constitution.  I  confess,  then,  I  think 
it  important,  in  the  present  case,  to  set  an  example  against 
broad  construction,  by  appealing  for  new  power  to  the 
people.  If,  however,  our  friends  shall  think  differently, 
certainly  I  shall  acquiesce  with  satisfaction ;  confiding,  that 
the  good  sense  of  our  country  will  correct  the  evil  of  con 
struction  when  it  shall  produce  ill  effects. 

Third  Annual  Message — October  17,  1803 

Congress  witnessed,  at  their  last  session,  the  extraordi 
nary  agitation  produced  in  the  public  mind  by  the  suspen 
sion  of  our  right  of  deposit  at  the  port  of  New  Orleans,  no 
assignment  of  another  place  having  been  made  according 
to  treaty.  They  were  sensible  that  the  continuance  of  that 
privation  would  be  more  injurious  to  our  nation  than  any 
consequences  which  could  flow  from  any  mode  of  redress, 



but  reposing  just  confidence  in  the  good  faith  of  the  Gov 
ernment  whose  officer  had  committed  the  wrong,  friendly 
and  reasonable  representations  were  resorted  to,  and  the 
right  of  deposit  was  restored. 

Previous,  however,  to  this  period,  we  had  not  been  un 
aware  of  the  danger  to  which  our  peace  would  be  perpetu 
ally  exposed  while  sc  important  a  key  to  the  commerce  of 
the  Western  country  remained  under  foreign  power.  Diffi 
culties,  too,  were  presenting  themselves  as  to  the  navigation 
of  other  streams,  which,  arising  within  our  territories,  pass 
through  those  adjacent.  Propositions  had  therefore  been 
authorized  for  obtaining,  on  fair  conditions,  the  sover 
eignty  of  New  Orleans,  and  of  other  possessions  in  that 
quarter  interesting  to  our  quiet,  to  such  extent  as  was 
deemed  practicable;  and  the  provisional  appropriation  of 
two  millions  of  dollars,  to  be  applied  and  accounted  for 
by  the  President  of  the  United  States,  intended  as  part  of 
the  price,  was  considered  as  conveying  the  sanction  of  Con 
gress  to  the  acquisition  proposed.  The  enlightened  Gov 
ernment  of  France  saw,  with  just  discernment,  the  im 
portance  to  both  nations  of  such  liberal  arrangements  as 
might  best  and  permanently  promote  the  peace,  friendship, 
and  interests  of  both;  and  the  property  and  sovereignty  of 
all  Louisiana,  which  had  been  restored  to  them,  have  on 
certain  conditions  been  transferred  to  the  United  States 
by  instruments  bearing  date  the  30th  of  April  last.  When 
these  shall  have  received  the  constitutional  sanction  of  the 
Senate,  they  will  without  delay  be  communicated  to  the 
representatives  also,  for  the  exercise  of  their  functions,  as 
to  those  conditions  which  are  within  the  powers  vested  by 
the  Constitution  in  Congress.  While  the  property  and 
sovereignty  of  the  Mississippi  and  its  waters  secure  an  in 
dependent  outlet  for  the  produce  of  the  Western  States, 
and  an  uncontrolled  navigation  through  their  whole  course, 



free  from  collision  with  other  powers  and  the  dangers  to 
our  peace  from  that  source,  the  fertility  of  the  country, 
its  climate  and  extent,  promise  in  due  season  important 
aids  to  our  treasury,  an  ample  provision  for  our  posterity, 
and  a  wide-spread  field  for  the  blessings  of  freedom  and 
equal  laws. 

With  the  wisdom  of  Congress  it  will  rest  to  take  those 
ulterior  measures  which  may  be  necessary  for  the  immedi 
ate  occupation  and  temporary  government  of  the  country; 
for  its  incorporation  into  our  Union;  for  rendering  the 
change  of  government  a  blessing  to  our  newly  adopted 
brethren;  for  securing  to  them  the  rights  of  conscience  and 
of  property;  for  confirming  to  the  Indian  inhabitants  their 
occupancy  and  self-government,  establishing  friendly  and 
commercial  relations  with  them,  and  for  ascertaining  the 
geography  of  the  country  acquired.  Such  materials  for 
your  information,  relative  to  its  affairs  in  general,  as  the 
ohort  space  of  time  has  permitted  me  to  collect,  will  be 
laid  before  you  when  the  subject  shall  be  in  a  state  for 
your  consideration. 

On  Learning  and  Agriculture 

To  David  Williams 

WASHINGTON,  November  14,  1803. 

Sir:  The  greatest  evils  of  populous  society  have  ever 
appeared  to  me  to  spring  from  the  vicious  distribution  of 
its  members  among  the  occupations  called  for.  I  have  no 
doubt  that  those  nations  are  essentially  right,  which  leave 
this  to  individual  choice,  as  a  better  guide  to  an  advan 
tageous  distribution  than  any  other  which  could  be  devised. 
But  when,  by  a  blind  concourse,  particular  occupations  are 



ruinously  overcharged,  and  others  left  in  want  of  hands, 
the  national  authorities  can  do  much  toward  restoring  the 
equilibrium.  On  the  revival  of  letters,  learning  became  the 
universal  favorite.  And  with  reason,  because  there  was 
not  enough  of  it  existing  to  manage  the  affairs  of  a  nation 
to  the  best  advantage,  nor  to  advance  its  individuals  to  the 
happiness  of  which  they  were  susceptible,  by  improvements 
in  their  minds,  their  morals,  their  health,  and  in  those  con 
veniences  which  contribute  to  the  comfort  and  embellish 
ment  of  life.  All  the  efforts  of  the  society,  therefore,  were 
directed  to  the  increase  of  learning,  and  the  inducements 
of  respect,  ease,  and  profit  were  held  up  for  its  encourage 
ment.  Even  the  charities  of  the  nation  forgot  that  misery 
was  their  object,  and  spent  themselves  in  founding  schools 
to  transfer  to  science  the  hardy  sons  of  the  plough.  To 
these  incitements  were  added  the  powerful  fascinations  of 
great  cities.  These  circumstances  have  long  since  produced 
an  overcharge  in  the  class  of  competitors  for  learned  oc 
cupation,  and  great  distress  among  the  supernumerary 
candidates;  and  the  more,  as  their  habits  of  life  have  dis 
qualified  them  for  re-entering  into  the  laborious  class. 
The  evil  cannot  be  suddenly,  nor  perhaps  ever  entirely 
cured;  nor  should  I  presume  to  say  by  what  means  it  may 
be  cured.  Doubtless  there  are  many  engines  which  the 
nation  might  bring  to  bear  on  this  object.  Public  opinion, 
and  public  encouragement  are  among  these.  The  class 
principally  defective  is  that  of  agriculture.  It  is  the  first 
in  utility,  and  ought  to  be  the  first  in  respect.  The  same 
artificial  means  which  have  been  used  to  produce  a  com 
petition  in  learning,  may  be  equally  successful  in  restor 
ing  agriculture  to  its  primary  dignity  in  the  eyes  of  men. 
It  is  a  science  of  the  very  first  order.  It  counts  among 
its  handmaids  the  most  respectable  sciences,  such  as 
Chemistry,  Natural  Philosophy,  Mechanics,  Mathematics 



general!}',  Xatural  History,  Botany.  In  every  College  and 
University,  a  professorship  of  agriculture,  and  the  class  of 
its  students,  might  be  honored  as  the  first.  Young  men 
closing  their  academical  education  with  this,  as  the  crown 
of  all  other  sciences,  fascinated  with  its  solid  charms,  and 
at  a  time  when  they  are  to  choose  an  occupation,  instead  of 
crowding  the  other  classes,  would  return  to  the  farms  of 
their  fathers,  their  own,  or  those  of  others,  and  replenish 
and  invigorate  a  calling,  now  languishing  under  contempt 
and  oppression.  The  charitable  schools,  instead  of  storing 
their  pupils  with  a  lore  which  the  present  state  of  society 
does  not  call  for,  converted  into  schools  of  agriculture, 
might  restore  them  to  that  branch  qualified  to  enrich  and 
honor  themselves,  and  to  increase  the  productions  of  the 
nation  instead  of  consuming  them.  A  gradual  abolition  of 
the  useless  offices,  so  much  accumulated  in  all  governments, 
might  close  this  drain  also  from  the  labors  of  the  field,  and 
lessen  the  burdens  imposed  on  them.  By  these,  and  the 
better  means  which  will  occur  to  others,  the  surcharge  of 
the  learned,  might  in  time  be  drawn  off  to  recruit  the  labor 
ing  class  of  citizens,  the  sum  of  industry  be  increased,  and 
that  of  misery  diminished. 

Among  the  ancients,  the  redundance  of  population  was 
sometimes  checked  by  exposing  infants.  To  the  moderns, 
America  has  offered  a  more  humane  resource.  Many,  who 
cannot  find  employment  in  Europe,  accordingly  come  here. 
Those  who  can  labor  do  well,  for  the  most  part.  Of  the 
learned  class  of  emigrants,  a  small  portion  find  employ 
ments  analogous  to  their  talents.  But  many  fail,  and  re 
turn  to  complete  their  course  of  misery  in  the  scenes  where 
it  began.  Even  here  we  find  too  strong  a  current  from  the 
country  to  the  towns ;  and  instances  beginning  to  appear  of 
that  species  of  misery,  which  you  are  so  humanely  en 
deavoring  to  relieve  with  you.  Although  we  have  in  the 



old  countries  of  Europe  the  lesson  of  their  experience  to 
warn  us,  yet  I  am  not  satisfied  we  shall  have  the  firmness 
and  wisdom  to  profit  by  it.  The  general  desire  of  men  to 
live  by  their  heads  rather  than  their  hands,  and  the  strong 
allurements  of  great  cities  to  those  who  have  any  turn  for 
dissipation,  threaten  to  make  them  here,  as  in  Europe,  the 
sinks  of  voluntary  misery.  I  perceive,  however,  that  I 
have  suffered  my  pen  to  run  into  a  disquisition,  when  I  had 
taken  it  up  only  to  thank  you  for  the  volume  you  had  been 
so  kind  as  to  send  me,  and  to  express  my  approbation  of 
it.  After  apologizing,  therefore,  for  having  touched  on  a 
subject  so  much  more  familiar  to  you,  and  better  under 
stood,  I  beg  leave  to  assure  you  of  my  high  consideration 
and  respect. 

On  the  Danger  of  the  National  Bank  to  the 

To  Albert  Gallatin 

WASHINGTON,  December  13,  1803. 

From  a  passage  in  the  letter  of  the  President,  I  ob 
serve  an  idea  of  establishing  a  branch  bank  of  the  United 
States  in  New  Orleans.  This  institution  is  one  of  the 
most  deadly  hostility  existing,  against  the  principles  and 
form  of  our  Constitution.  The  nation  is,  at  this  time,  so 
strong  and  united  in  its  sentiments,  that  it  cannot  be 
shaken  at  this  moment.  But  suppose  a  series  of  untoward 
events  should  occur,  sufficient  to  bring  into  doubt  the  com 
petency  of  a  republican  government  to  meet  the  crisis  of 
great  danger,  or  to  unhinge  the  confidence  of  the  people 
in  the  public  functionaries ;  an  institution  like  this,  pene 
trating  by  its  branches  every  part  of  the  Union,  acting  by 



command  and  in  phalanx,  may,  in  a  critical  moment,  upset 
the  government.  I  deem  no  government  safe  which  is 
under  the  vassalage  of  any  self-constituted  authorities,  or 
any  other  authority  than  that  of  the  nation,  or  its  regular 
functionaries.  What  an  obstruction  could  not  this  bank  of 
the  United  States,  with  all  its  branch  banks,  be  in  time 
of  war!  It  might  dictate  to  us  the  peace  we  should  ac 
cept,  or  withdraw  its  aids.  Ought  we  then  to  give  further 
growth  to  an  institution  so  powerful,  so  hostile?  That  it  is 
so  hostile  we  know:  1,  from  a  knowledge  of  the  principles 
of  the  persons  composing  the  body  of  directors  in  every 
bank,  principal  or  branch;  and  those  of  most  of  the  stock 
holders  ;  2,  from  their  opposition  to  the  measures  and 
principles  of  the  government,  and  to  the  election  of  those 
friendly  to  them;  and  3,  from  the  sentiments  of  the 
newspapers  they  support.  Now,  while  we  are  strong,  it 
is  the  greatest  duty  we  owe  to  the  safety  of  our  Constitu 
tion,  to  bring  this  powerful  enemy  to  a  perfect  subordina 
tion  under  its  authorities.  The  first  measure  would  be  to 
reduce  them  to  an  equal  footing  only  with  other  banks,  as 
to  the  favors  of  the  government.  But,  in  order  to  be  able 
to  meet  a  general  combination  of  the  banks  against  us,  in 
a  critical  emergency,  could  we  not  make  a  beginning  tow 
ard  an  independent  use  of  our  own  money,  toward  hold 
ing  our  own  bank  in  all  the  deposits  where  it  is  received, 
and  letting  the  treasurer  give  his  draft  or  note  for  pay 
ment  at  any  particular  place,  which,  in  a  well-conducted 
government,  ought  to  have  as  much  credit  as  any  private 
draft,  or  bank-note,  or  bill,  and  would  give  us  the  same 
facilities  which  we  derive  from  the  banks? 



Advance  toward  Reconciliation  with  John 

To  Mrs.  John  Adams 

WASHINGTON,  June  13,  1804. 

Dear  Madam:  The  affectionate  sentiments  which  you 
have  had  the  goodness  to  express  in  your  letter  of  May 
the  20th,  toward  my  dear  departed  daughter,  have  awak 
ened  in  me  sensibilities  natural  to  the  occasion,  and  re 
called  your  kindnesses  to  her,  which  I  shall  ever  remember 
with  gratitude  and  friendship.  I  can  assure  you  with 
truth,  they  had  made  an  indelible  impression  on  her  mind, 
and  that  to  the  last,  on  our  meetings  after  long  separa 
tions,  whether  I  had  heard  lately  of  you,  and  how  you  did, 
were  among  the  earliest  of  her  inquiries.  In  giving  you 
this  assurance  I  perform  a  sacred  duty  for  her,  and,  at 
the  same  time,  am  thankful  for  the  occasion  furnished 
me,  of  expressing  my  regret  that  circumstances  should 
have  arisen,  which  have  seemed  to  draw  a  line  of  separa 
tion  between  us.  The  friendship  with  which  you  honored 
me  has  ever  been  valued,  and  fully  reciprocated;  and  al 
though  events  have  been  passing  which  might  be  trying  to 
some  minds,  I  never  believed  yours  to  be  of  that  kind, 
nor  felt  that  my  own  was.  Neither  my  estimate  of  your 
character,  nor  the  esteem  founded  in  that,  has  ever  been 
lessened  for  a  single  moment,  although  doubts  whether 
it  would  be  acceptable  may  have  forbidden  manifestations 
of  it. 

Mr.  Adams'  friendship  and  mine  began  at  an  earlier 
date.  It  accompanied  us  through  long  and  important 
scenes.  The  different  conclusions  we  had  drawn  from  our 
political  reading  and  reflections,  were  not  permitted  to  les- 


sen  personal  esteem,  each  party  being  conscious  they  were 
the  result  of  an  honest  conviction  in  the  other.  Like 
differences  of  opinion  existing  among  our  fellow-citizens, 
attached  them  to  one  or  the  other  of  us,  and  produced  a 
rivalship  in  their  minds  which  did  not  exist  in  ours.  We 
never  stood  in  one  another's  way;  for  if  either  had  been 
withdrawn  at  any  time,  his  favorers  would  not  have  gone 
over  to  the  other,  but  would  have  sought  for  some  one  of 
homogeneous  opinions.  This  consideration  was  sufficient 
to  keep  down  all  jealousy  between  us,  and  to  guard  our 
friendship  from  any  disturbance  by  sentiments  of  rival- 
ship  ;  and  I  can  say  with  truth,  that  one  act  of  Mr.  Adams' 
life,  and  one  only,  ever  gave  me  a  moment's  personal  dis 
pleasure.  I  did  consider  his  last  appointments  to  office  as 
personally  unkind.  They  were  from  among  my  most 
ardent  political  enemies,  from  whom  no  faithful  co-opera 
tion  could  ever  be  expected,  and  laid  me  under  the  embar 
rassment  of  acting  through  men  whose  views  were  to  de 
feat  mine,  or  to  encounter  the  odium  of  putting  others  in 
their  places.  It  seems  but  common  justice  to  leave  a  suc 
cessor  free  to  act  by  instruments  of  his  own  choice.  If  my 
respect  for  him  did  not  permit  me  to  ascribe  the  whole 
blame  to  the  influence  of  others,  it  left  something  for 
friendship  to  forgive,  and  after  brooding  over  it  for  some 
little  time,  and  not  always  resisting  the  expression  of  it, 
I  forgave  it  cordially,  and  returned  to  the  same  state  of 
esteem  and  respect  for  him  which  had  so  long  subsisted. 
Having  come  into  life  a  little  later  than  Mr.  Adams,  his 
career  has  preceded  mine,  as  mine  is  followed  by  some 
other;  and  it  will  probably  be  closed  at  the  same  distance 
after  him  which  time  originally  placed  between  us.  I 
maintain  for  him,  and  shall  carry  into  private  life,  an  uni 
form  and  high  measure  of  respect  and  good-will,  and  for 
yourself  a  sincere  attachment. 



I  have  thus,  my  dear  Madam,  opened  myself  to  you 
without  reserve,  which  I  have  long  wished  an  opportunity 
of  doing;  and,  without  knowing  how  it  will  be  received, 
I  feel  relief  from  being  unbosomed.  And  I  have  now 
only  to  entreat  your  forgiveness  for  this  transition  from  a 
subject  of  domestic  affliction,  to  one  which  seems  of  a  dif 
ferent  aspect.  But  though  connected  with  political  events, 
it  has  been  viewed  by  me  most  strongly  in  its  unfortunate 
bearings  on  my  private  friendships.  The  injury  these 
have  sustained  has  been  a  heavy  price  for  what  has  never 
given  me  equal  pleasure.  That  you  may  both  be  favored 
with  health,  tranquillity,  and  long  life  is  the  prayer  of  one 
who  tenders  you  the  assurance  of  his  highest  consideration 
and  esteem. 

On  the  Loss  of  Ms  Daughter 

To   Governor  John   Page 

WASHINGTON,  June  25,   1804. 

Others  may  lose  of  their  abundance,  but  I,  of  my  want, 
have  lost  even  the  half  of  all  I  had.  My  evening  pros 
pects  now  hang  on  the  slender  thread  of  a  single  life. 
Perhaps  I  may  be  destined  to  see  even  this  last  cord  of 
parental  affection  broken !  The  hope  with  which  I  had 
looked  forward  to  the  moment,  when,  resigning  public 
cares  to  younger  hands,  I  was  to  retire  to  that  domestic 
comfort  from  which  the  last  great  step  is  to  be  taken, 
is  fearfully  blighted.  When  you  and  I  look  back  on  the 
country  over  which  we  have  passed,  what  a  field  of 
slaughter  does  it  exhibit !  Where  are  all  the  friends  who 
entered  it  with  us,  under  all  the  inspiring  energies  of 
health  and  hope  ?  As  if  pursued  by  the  havoc  of  war,  they 



are  strewed  by  the  way,  some  earlier,  some  later,  and 
scarce  a  few  stragglers  remain  to  count  the  numbers 
fallen,  and  to  mark  yet,  by  their  own  fall,  the  last  foot 
steps  of  their  party.  Is  it  a  desirable  thing  to  bear  up 
through  the  heat  of  the  action,  to  witness  the  death  of  all 
our  companions,  and  merely  be  the  last  victim?  I  doubt 
it.  We  have,  however,  the  traveller's  consolation.  Every 
step  shortens  the  distance  we  have  to  go ;  the  end  of  our 
journey  is  in  sight,  the  bed  wherein  we  are  to  rest,  and 
to  rise  in  the  midst  of  the  friends  we  have  lost.  "We 
sorrow  not  then  as  others  who  have  no  hope" ;  but  look 
forward  to  the  day  which  "joins  us  to  the  great  majority." 
But  whatever  is  to  be  our  destiny,  wisdom,  as  well  as 
duty,  dictates  that  we  should  acquiesce  in  the  will  of  Him 
whose  it  is  to  give  and  take  away,  and  be  contented  in  the 
enjoyment  of  those  who  are  still  permitted  to  be  with  us. 
Of  those  connected  by  blood,  the  number  does  not  depend 
on  us.  But  friends  we  have,  if  we  have  merited  them. 
Those  of  our  earliest  years  stand  nearest  in  our  affections. 
But  in  this,  too,  you  and  I  have  been  unlucky.  Of  our 
college  friends  (and  they  are  the  dearest)  how  few  have 
stood  with  us  in  the  great  political  questions  which  have 
agitated  our  country;  and  these  were  of  a  nature  to  justify 
agitation.  I  did  not  believe  the  Lilliputian  fetters  of  that 
day  strong  enough  to  have  bound  so  many.  Will  not  Mrs. 
Page,  yourself  and  family,  think  it  prudent  to  seek  a 
healthier  region  for  the  months  of  August  and  September? 
And  may  we  not  flatter  ourselves  that  you  will  cast  your 
eye  on  Monticello?  We  have  not  many  summers  to  live. 
While  fortune  places  us,  then,  within  striking  distance,  let 
us  avail  ourselves  of  it,  to  meet  and  talk  over  the  tales  of 
other  times. 


On  Politics 

To  Judge  John  Tyler 

WASHINGTON,  June  28,  1804. 

The  terms  in  which  you  are  so  good  as  to  express  your 
satisfaction  with  the  course  of  the  present  administration 
cannot  but  give  me  great  pleasure.  I  may  err  in  my  meas 
ures,  but  never  shall  deflect  from  the  intention  to  fortify 
the  public  liberty  by  every  possible  means,  and  to  put  it 
out  of  the  power  of  the  few  to  riot  on  the  labors  of  the 
many.  No  experiment  can  be  more  interesting  than  that 
we  are  now  trying,  and  which  we  trust  will  end  in  estab 
lishing  the  fact,  that  man  may  be  governed  by  reason  and 
truth.  Our  first  object  should  therefore  be,  to  leave  open 
to  him  all  the  avenues  to  truth.  The  most  effectual 
hitherto  found,  is  the  freedom  of  the  press.  It  is,  there 
fore,  the  first  shut  up  by  those  who  fear  the  investigation 
of  their  actions.  The  firmness  with  which  the  people  have 
withstood  the  late  abuses  of  the  press,  the  discernment  they 
have  manifested  between  truth  and  falsehood,  show  that 
they  may  safely  be  trusted  to  hear  everything  true  and 
false,  and  to  form  a  correct  judgment  between  them.  As 
little  is  it  necessary  to  impose  on  their  senses,  or  dazzle 
their  minds  by  pomp,  splendor,  or  forms.  Instead  of  this 
artificial,  how  much  surer  is  that  real  respect,  which  re 
sults  from  the  use  of  their  reason  and  the  habit  of  bringing 
everything  to  the  test  of  common  sense. 



Qualifies  Condemnation  of  Cities  and  Manu 

To  Mr.  Lithson 

WASHINGTON,  January  4,  1805. 

Mr.  Duane  informed  me  that  he  meant  to  publish  a  new 
edition  of  the  "Notes  on  Virginia/'  and  I  had  in  contempla 
tion  some  particular  alterations  which  would  require  little 
time  to  make.  My  occupations  by  no  means  permit  me  at 
this  time  to  revise  the  text,  and  make  those  changes  in  it 
which  I  should  now  do.  I  should  in  that  case  certainly 
qualify  several  expressions  in  the  nineteenth  chapter, 
which  have  been  construed  differently  from  what  they  were 
intended.  I  had  under  my  eye,  when  writing,  the  manu 
facturers  of  the  great  cities  in  the  old  countries,  at  the 
present  time,  with  whom  the  want  of  food  and  clothing 
necessary  to  sustain  life,  has  begotten  a  depravity  of 
morals,  a  dependence  and  corruption,  which  renders  them 
an  undesirable  accession  to  a  country  whose  morals  are 
sound.  My  expressions  looked  forward  to  the  time  when 
our  own  great  cities  would  get  into  the  same  state.  But 
they  have  been  quoted  as  if  meant  for  the  present  time 
here.  As  yet  our  manufacturers  are  as  much  at  their  ease, 
as  independent  and  moral  as  our  agricultural  inhabitants, 
and  they  will  continue  so  as  long  as  there  are  vacant  lands 
for  them  to  resort  to;  because  whenever  it  shall  be  at 
tempted  by  the  other  classes  to  reduce  them  to  the  mini 
mum  of  subsistence,  they  will  quit  their  trades  and  go  to 
laboring  the  earth.  A  first  question  is,  Whether  it  is  de 
sirable  for  us  to  receive  at  present  the  dissolute  and 
demoralized  handicraftsmen  of  the  old  cities  of  Europe? 
A  second  and  more  difficult  one  is,  when  even  good  handi- 



craftsmen  arrive  here,  is  it  better  for  them  to  set  up  their 
trade,  or  go  to  the  culture  of  the  earth?  Whether  their 
labor  in  their  trade  is  worth  more  than  their  labor  on  the 
soil,  increased  by  the  creative  energies  of  the  earth?  Had 
I  time  to  revise  that  chapter,  this  question  should  be  dis 
cussed,  and  other  views  of  the  subject  taken,  which  are 
presented  by  the  wonderful  changes  which  have  taken 
place  here  since  1781,  when  the  "Notes  on  Virginia"  were 
written.  Perhaps  when  I  retire,  I  may  amuse  myself 
with  a  serious  review  of  this  work;  at  present  it  is  out  of 
the  question.  Accept  my  salutations  and  good  wishes. 

Second  Inaugural  Address — March  4,  1805 

Proceeding,  fellow-citizens,  to  that  qualification  which 
the  Constitution  requires  before  my  entrance  on  the  charge 
again  conferred  upon  me,  it  is  my  duty  to  express  the  deep 
sense  I  entertain  of  this  new  proof  of  confidence  from  my 
fellow-citizens  at  large,  and  the  zeal  with  which  it  inspires 
me,  so  to  conduct  myself  as  may  best  satisfy  their  just 

On  taking  this  station  on  a  former  occasion,  I  declared 
the  principles  on  which  I  believed  it  my  duty  to  administer 
the  affairs  of  our  commonwealth.  My  conscience  tells  me 
that  I  have,  on  every  occasion,  acted  up  to  that  declaration, 
according  to  its  obvious  import,  and  to  the  understanding 
of  every  candid  mind. 

In  the  transaction  of  your  foreign  affairs,  we  have  en 
deavored  to  cultivate  the  friendship  of  all  nations,  and 
especially  of  those  with  which  we  have  the  most  important 
relations.  We  have  done  them  justice  on  all  occasions, 
favored  where  favor  was  lawful,  and  cherished  mutual  in 
terests  and  intercourse  on  fair  and  equal  terms.  We  are 



firmly  convinced,  and  we  act  on  that  conviction,  that  with 
nations,  as  with  individuals,  our  interests  soundly  cal 
culated,  will  ever  be  found  inseparable  from  our  moral 
duties;  and  history  bears  witness  to  the  fact,  that  a  just 
nation  is  taken  on  its  word,  when  recourse  is  had  to  arma 
ments,  and  wars  to  bridle  others. 

At  home,  fellow-citizens,  you  best  know  whether  we 
have  done  well  or  ill.  The  suppression  of  unnecessary 
offices,  of  useless  establishments  and  expenses,  enabled  us 
to  discontinue  our  internal  taxes.  These  covering  our  land 
with  officers,  and  opening  our  doors  to  their  intrusions,  had 
already  begun  that  process  of  domiciliary  vexation  which, 
once  entered,  is  scarcely  to  be  restrained  from  reaching 
successively  every  article  of  produce  and  property.  If 
among  these  taxes  some  minor  ones  fell  which  had  not 
been  inconvenient,  it  was  because  their  amount  would  not 
have  paid  the  officers  who  collected  them,  and  because,  if 
they  had  any  merit,  the  state  authorities  might  adopt 
them,  instead  of  others  less  approved. 

The  remaining  revenue  on  the  consumption  of  foreign 
articles,  is  paid  cheerfully  by  those  who  can  afford  to  add 
foreign  luxuries  to  domestic  comforts,  being  collected  on 
our  seaboards  and  frontiers  only,  and  incorporated  with 
the  transactions  of  our  mercantile  citizens,  it  may  be  the 
pleasure  and  pride  of  an  American  to  ask,  What  farmer, 
what  mechanic,  what  laborer,  ever  sees  a  tax-gatherer  of 
the  United  States?  These  contributions  enable  us  to  sup 
port  the  current  expenses  of  the  Government,  to  fulfil 
contracts  with  foreign  nations,  to  extinguish  the  native 
right  of  soil  within  our  limits,  to  extend  those  limits,  and 
to  apply  such  a  surplus  to  our  public  debts,  as  places  at 
a  short  day  their  final  redemption,  and  that  redemption 
once  effected,  the  revenue  thereby  liberated  may,  by  a  just 
repartition  among  the  States,  and  a  corresponding  amend- 



ing  of  the  Constitution,  be  applied,  in  time  of  peace,  to 
rivers,  canals,  roads,  arts,  manufactures,  education,  and 
other  great  objects  within  each  State.  In  time  of  war,  if 
injustice,  by  ourselves  or  others,  must  sometimes  produce 
war,  increased  as  the  same  revenue  will  be  increased  by 
population  and  consumption,  and  aided  by  other  resources 
reserved  for  that  crisis,  it  may  meet  within  the  year  all  the 
expenses  of  the  year,  without  encroaching  on  the  rights  of 
future  generations  by  burdening  them  with  the  debts  of 
the  past.  War  will  then  be  but  a  suspension  of  useful 
works,  and  a  return  to  a  state  of  peace  a  return  to  the 
progress  of  improvement. 

I  have  said,  fellow-citizens,  that  the  income  reserved 
had  enabled  us  to  extend  our  limits ;  but  that  extension 
may  possibly  pay  for  itself  before  we  are  called  on,  and 
in  the  meantime,  may  keep  down  the  accruing  interest;  in 
all  events,  it  will  repay  the  advances  we  have  made.  I 
know  that  the  acquisition  of  Louisiana  has  been  disap 
proved  by  some,  from  a  candid  apprehension  that  the  en 
largement  of  our  territory  would  endanger  its  union.  But 
who  can  limit  the  extent  to  which  the  federative  principle 
may  operate  effectively?  The  larger  our  association,  the 
less  will  it  be  shaken  by  local  passions ;  and  in  any  view, 
is  it  not  better  that  the  opposite  bank  of  the  Mississippi 
should  be  settled  by  our  own  brethren  and  children,  than 
by  strangers  of  another  family?  With  which  shall  we  be 
most  likely  to  live  in  harmony  and  friendly  intercourse  ? 

In  matters  of  religion,  I  have  considered  that  its  free 
exercise  is  placed  by  the  Constitution  independent  of  the 
powers  of  the  General  Government.  I  have  therefore  un 
dertaken,  on  no  occasion,  to  prescribe  the  religious  exercises 
suited  to  it,  but  have  left  them,  as  the  Constitution  found 
them,  under  the  direction  and  discipline  of  State  or  Church 
authorities  acknowledged  by  the  several  religious  societies. 



The  aboriginal  inhabitants  of  these  countries  I  have  re 
garded  with  the  commiseration  their  history  inspires.  En 
dowed  with  the  faculties  and  the  rights  of  men,  breath 
ing  an  ardent  love  of  liberty  and  independence,  and 
occupying  a  country  which  left  them  no  desire  but  to 
be  undisturbed,  the  stream  of  overflowing  population 
from  other  regions  directed  itself  on  these  shores ;  with 
out  power  to  divert,  or  habits  to  contend  against,  they  have 
been  overwhelmed  by  the  current,  or  driven  before  it;  now 
reduced  within  limits  too  narrow  for  the  hunter's  state, 
humanity  enjoins  us  to  teach  them  agriculture  and  the 
domestic  arts ;  to  encourage  them  to  that  industry  which 
alone  can  enable  them  to  maintain  their  place  in  existence, 
and  to  prepare  them  in  time  for  that  state  of  society,  which 
to  bodily  comforts  adds  the  improvement  of  the  mind  and 
morals.  We  have  therefore  liberally  furnished  them  with 
the  implements  of  husbandry  and  household  use;  we  have 
placed  among  them  instructors  in  the  arts  of  first  necessity ; 
and  they  are  covered  with  the  aegis  of  the  law  against 
aggressors  from  among  ourselves. 

But  the  endeavors  to  enlighten  them  on  the  fate  which 
awaits  their  present  course  of  life,  to  induce  them  to  ex 
ercise  their  reason,  follow  its  dictates,  and  change  their 
pursuits  with  the  change  of  circumstances,  have  powerful 
obstacles  to  encounter ;  they  are  combated  by  the  habits  of 
their  bodies,  prejudice  of  their  minds,  ignorance,  pride,  and 
the  influence  of  interested  and  crafty  individuals  among 
them,  who  feel  themselves  something  in  the  present  order 
of  things,  and  fear  to  become  nothing  in  any  other.  These 
persons  inculcate  a  sanctimonious  reverence  for  the  cus 
toms  of  their  ancestors;  that  whatsoever  they  did,  must  be 
done  through  all  time ;  that  reason  is  a  false  guide,  and  to 
advance  under  its  counsel,  in  their  physical,  moral,  or 
political  condition,  is  perilous  innovation;  that  their  duty 



is  to  remain  as  their  Creator  made  them,  ignorance  being 
safety,  and  knowledge  full  of  danger;  in  short,  my  friends, 
among  them  is  seen  the  action  and  counteraction  of  good 
sense  and  bigotry ;  they,  too,  have  their  anti-philosophers, 
who  find  an  interest  in  keeping  things  in  their  present 
state,  who  dread  reformation,  and  exert  all  their  faculties 
to  maintain  the  ascendancy  of  habit  over  the  duty  of  im 
proving  our  reason,  and  obeying  its  mandates. 

In  giving  these  outlines,  I  do  not  mean,  fellow-citizens, 
to  arrogate  to  myself  the  merit  of  the  measures ;  that  is 
clue,  in  the  first  place,  to  the  reflecting  character  of  our 
citizens  at  large,  who,  by  the  weight  of  public  opinion, 
influence  and  strengthen  the  public  measures ;  it  is  due  to 
the  sound  discretion  with  which  they  select  from  among 
themselves  those  to  whom  they  confide  the  legislative 
duties ;  it  is  due  to  the  zeal  and  wisdom  of  the  characters 
thus  selected,  who  lay  the  foundations  of  public  happiness 
in  wholesome  laws,  the  execution  of  which  alone  remains 
for  others;  and  it  is  due  to  the  able  and  faithful  auxiliaries, 
whose  patriotism  has  associated  with  me  in  the  executive 

During  this  course  of  administration,  and  in  order  to  dis 
turb  it,  the  artillery  of  the  press  has  been  levelled  against 
us,  charged  with  whatsoever  its  licentiousness  could  devise 
or  dare.  These  abuses  of  an  institution  so  important  to 
freedom  arid  science,  are  deeply  to  be  regretted,  inasmuch 
as  they  tend  to  lessen  its  usefulness,  and  to  sap  its  safety; 
they  might,  indeed,  have  been  corrected  by  the  wholesome 
punishments  reserved  and  provided  by  the  laws  of  the  sev 
eral  States  against  falsehood  and  defamation;  but  public 
duties  more  urgent  press  on  the  time  of  public  servants, 
and  the  offenders  have  therefore  been  left  to  find  their 
punishment  in  the  public  indignation. 

Nor  was  it  uninteresting  to  the  world,  that  an  experiment 



should  be  fairly  and  fully  made,  whether  freedom  of  dis 
cussion,  unaided  by  power,  is  not  sufficient  for  the  propa 
gation  and  protection  of  truth — whether  a  government, 
conducting  itself  in  the  true  spirit  of  its  constitution,  with 
zeal  and  purity,  and  doing  no  act  which  it  would  be  un 
willing  the  whole  world  should  witness,  can  be  written 
down  by  falsehood  and  defamation.  The  experiment  has 
been  tried;  you  have  witnessed  the  scene;  our  fellow-citi 
zens  have  looked  on,  cool  and  collected;  they  saw  the  latent 
source  from  which  these  outrages  proceeded;  they  gathered 
around  their  public  functionaries,  and  when  the  Constitution 
called  them  to  the  decision  by  suffrage,  they  pronounced 
their  verdict,  honorable  to  those  who  had  served  them,  and 
consolatory  to  the  friend  of  man,  who  believes  he  may  be 
intrusted  with  his  own  affairs. 

No  inference  is  here  intended,  that  the  laws,  provided 
by  the  state  against  false  and  defamatory  publications, 
should  not  be  enforced;  he  who  has  time  renders  a  service 
to  public  morals  and  public  tranquillity,  in  reforming  these 
abuses  by  the  salutary  coercions  of  the  law;  but  the  ex 
periment  is  noted  to  prove  that,  since  truth  and  reason 
have  maintained  their  ground  against  false  opinions  in 
league  with  false  facts,  the  press,  confined  to  truth,  needs 
no  other  legal  restraint;  the  public  judgment  will  correct 
false  reasonings  and  opinions,  on  a  full  hearing  of  all 
parties ;  and  no  other  definite  line  can  be  drawn  between 
the  inestimable  liberty  of  the  press  and  its  demoralizing 
licentiousness.  If  there  be  still  improprieties  which  this 
rule  would  not  restrain,  its  supplement  must  be  sought  in 
the  censorship  of  public  opinion. 

Contemplating  the  union  of  sentiment  now  manifested 
so  generally,  as  auguring  harmony  and  happiness  to  our 
future  course,  I  offer  to  our  country  sincere  congratula 
tions.  With  those,  too,  not  yet  rallied  to  the  same  point, 



the  disposition  to  do  so  is  gaining  strength ;  facts  are  pierc 
ing  through  the  veil  drawn  over  them,  and  our  doubting 
brethren  will  at  length  see,  that  the  mass  of  their  fellow- 
citizens,,  with  whom  they  cannot  yet  resolve  to  act,  as  to 
principles  and  measures,  think  as  they  think,  and  desire 
what  they  desire;  that  our  wish,  as  well  as  theirs,  is,  that 
the  public  efforts  may  be  directed  honestly  to  the  public 
good,  that  peace  be  cultivated,  civil  and  religious  liberty 
unassailed,  law  and  order  preserved,  equality  of  rights 
maintained,  and  that  state  of  property,  equal  or  unequal, 
which  results  to  every  man  from  his  own  industry,  or  that 
of  his  fathers.  When  satisfied  of  these  views,  it  is  not  in 
human  nature  that  they  should  not  approve  and  support 
them;  in  the  meantime,  let  us  cherish  them  with  patient 
affection;  let  us  do  them  justice,  and  more  than  justice,  in 
all  competitions  of  interest ;  and  we  need  not  doubt  that 
truth,  reason,  and  their  own  interests,  will  at  length  pre 
vail,  will  gather  them  into  the  fold  of  their  country,  and 
will  complete  their  entire  union  of  opinion,  which  gives  to 
a  nation  the  blessing  of  harmony,  and  the  benefit  of  all  its 

I  shall  now  enter  on  the  duties  to  which  my  fellow-citi 
zens  have  again  called  me,  and  shall  proceed  in  the  spirit 
of  those  principles  which  they  have  approved.  I  fear  not 
that  any  motives  of  interest  may  lead  me  astray;  I  am 
sensible  of  no  passion  which  could  seduce  me  knowingly 
from  the  path  of  justice;  but  the  weakness  of  human  nature 
and  the  limits  of  my  own  understanding,  will  produce  errors 
of  judgment  sometimes  injurious  to  your  interests.  I  shall 
need,  therefore,  all  the  indulgence  I  have  heretofore  experi 
enced — the  want  of  it  will  certainly  not  lessen  with  increas 
ing  years.  I  shall  need,  too,  the  favor  of  that  Being  in 
whose  hands  we  are,  who  led  our  forefathers,  as  Israel  of 
old,  from  their  native  land,  and  planted  them  in  a  country 



flowing  with  all  the  necessaries  and  comforts  of  life;  who 
has  covered  our  infancy  with  His  providence,  and  our  riper 
years  with  His  wisdom  and  power;  and  to  whose  goodness 

*I  ask  you  to  join  with  me  in  supplications,  that  He  will  so 
enlighten  the  minds  of  your  servants,  guide  their  councils, 

"and  prosper  their  measures,  that  whatsoever  they  do,  shall 
result  in  your  good,  and  shall  secure  to  you  the  peace, 
friendship,  and  approbation  of  all  nations. 

On  the  Conduct  of  a  Newspaper 

To  John  Norvell 

WASHINGTON,  June  11,  1807. 

To  your  request  of  my  opinion  of  the  manner  in  which 
a  newspaper  should  be  conducted,  so  as  to  be  most  useful, 
I  should  answer,  "by  restraining  it  to  true  facts  and  sound 
principles  only."  Yet  I  fear  such  a  paper  would  find  few 
subscribers.  It  is  a  melancholy  truth,  that  a  suppression 
of  the  press  could  not  more  completely  deprive  the  nation  of 
its  benefits,  than  is  done  by  its  abandoned  prostitution  to 
falsehood.  Nothing  can  now  be  believed  which  is  seen  in 
a  newspaper.  Truth  itself  becomes  suspicious  by  being 
put  into  that  polluted  vehicle.  The  real  extent  of  this  state 
of  misinformation  is  known  only  to  those  who  are  in  situa 
tions  to  confront  facts  within  their  knowledge  with  the  lies 
of  the  day.  I  really  look  with  commiseration  over  the  great 
body  of  my  fellow-citizens,  who,  reading  newspapers,  live 
and  die  in  the  belief,  that  they  have  known  something  of 
what  has  been  passing  in  the  world  in  their  time;  whereas 
the  accounts  they  have  read  in  newspapers  are  just  as  true 
a  history  of  any  other  period  of  the  world  as  of  the  pres 
ent,  except  that  the  real  names  of  the  day  are  affixed  to 



their  fables.  General  facts  may  indeed  be  collected  from 
them,  such  as  that  Europe  is  now  at  war,  that  Bonaparte 
has  been  a  successful  warrior,  that  he  has  subjected  a  great 
portion  of  Europe  to  his  will,  etc.,  etc. ;  but  no  details  can 
be  relied  on.  I  will  add,  that  the  man  who  never  looks  into 
a  newspaper  is  better  informed  than  he  who  reads  them, 
inasmuch  as  he  who  knows  nothing  is  nearer  to  truth  than 
he  whose  mind  is  filled  with  falsehoods  and  errors.  He 
who  reads  nothing  will  still  learn  the  great  facts,  and  the 
details  are  all  false. 

Perhaps  an  editor  might  begin  a  reformation  in  some 
such  way  as  this.  Divide  his  paper  into  four  chapters, 
heading  the  1st,  Truths.  2d,  Probabilities.  3d,  Possi 
bilities.  4th,  Lies.  The  first  chapter  would  be  very 
short,  as  it  would  contain  little  more  than  authentic  papers, 
and  information  from  such  sources,  as  the  editor  would  be 
willing  to  risk  his  own  reputation  for  their  truth.  The 
second  would  contain  what,  from  a  mature  consideration  of 
all  circumstances,  his  judgment  should  conclude  to  be  prob 
ably  true.  This,  however,  should  rather  contain  too  little 
than  too  much.  The  third  and  fourth  should  be  profess 
edly  for  those  readers  who  would  rather  have  lies  for  their 
money  than  the  blank  paper  they  would  occupy. 

Such  an  editor,  too,  would  have  to  set  his  face  against 
the  demoralizing  practice  of  feeding  the  public  mind 
habitually  on  slander,  and  the  depravity  of  taste  which  this 
nauseous  aliment  induces.  Defamation  is  becoming  a  nec 
essary  of  life;  insomuch,  that  a  dish  of  tea  in  the  morning 
or  evening  cannot  be  digested  without  this  stimulant.  Even 
those  who  do  not  believe  these  abominations,  still  read  them 
with  complaisance  to  their  auditors,  and  instead  of  the 
abhorrence  and  indignation  which  should  fill  a  virtuous 
mind,  betray  a  secret  pleasure  in  the  possibility  that  some 
may  believe  them,  though  they  do  not  themselves.  It 



seems  to  escape  them,  that  it  is  not  he  who  prints,  but  he 
who  pays  for  printing  a  slander,  who  is  its  real  author. 

To  Col.  Robert  Fulton 

MONTICELLO,  August  16,  1807. 

Sir:  I  consider  your  torpedoes  as  very  valuable  means 
of  the  defence  of  harbors,  and  have  no  doubt  that  we  should 
adopt  them  to  a  considerable  degree.  Not  that  I  go  the 
whole  length  (as  I  believe  you  do)  of  considering  them  as 
solely  to  be  relied  on.  Neither  a  nation  nor  those  intrusted 
with  its  affairs,  could  be  justifiable,  however  sanguine  its 
expectations,  in  trusting  solely  to  an  engine  not  yet  suffi 
ciently  tried,  under  all  the  circumstances  which  may  occur, 
and  against  which  we  know  not  as  yet  what  means  of  parry 
ing  may  be  devised.  If,  indeed,  the  mode  of  attaching 
them  to  the  cable  of  a  ship  be  the  only  one  proposed,  modes 
of  prevention  cannot  be  difficult.  But  I  have  ever  looked 
to  the  submarine  boat  as  most  to  be  depended  on  for  at 
taching  them,  and  though  I  see  no  mention  of  it  in  your 
letter,  or  your  publications,  I  am  in  hopes  it  is  not  aban 
doned  as  impracticable.  I  should  wish  to  see  a  corps  of 
young  men  trained  to  this  service.  It  would  belong  to  the 
engineers  if  at  hand,  but  being  nautical,  I  suppose  we  must 
have  a  corps  of  naval  engineers,  to  practise  and  use  them. 
I  do  not  know  whether  we  have  authority  to  put  any  part 
of  our  existing  naval  establishment  in  a  course  of  training, 
but  it  shall  be  the  subject  of  a  consultation  with  the  Sec 
retary  of  the  Navy.  General  Dearborn  has  informed  you 
of  the  urgency  of  our  want  of  you  at  New  Orleans  for  the 
locks  there.  I  salute  you  with  great  respect  and  esteem. 


Proposed  Alliance  with  Great  Britain 

To   tJie  Secretary  of  State 
(James  Madison) 

MONTICELLO,  August  27,  1805. 

I  think  you  have  misconceived  the  nature  of  the  treaty 
I  thought  we  should  propose  to  England.  I  have  no  idea 
of  committing  ourselves  immediately  or  independently  of 
our  further  will  to  the  war.  The  treaty  should  be  provi 
sional  only,  to  come  into  force  on  the  event  of  our  being 
engaged  in  war  with  either  France  or  Spain  during  the  pres 
ent  war  in  Europe.  In  that  event  we  should  make  com 
mon  cause,  and  England  should  stipulate  not  to  make  peace 
without  our  obtaining  the  objects  for  which  we  go  to  war, 
to  wit,  the  acknowledgment  by  Spain  of  the  rightful  boun 
daries  of  Louisiana  (which  we  should  reduce  to  our  mini 
mum  by  a  secret  article)  and  indemnification  for  spolia 
tions,  for  which  purpose  we  should  be  allowed  to  make 
reprisal  on  the  Floridas  and  retain  them  as  an  indemnifica 
tion.  Our  co-operation  in  the  war  (if  we  should  actually 
enter  into  it)  would  be  sufficient  consideration  for  Great 
Britain  to  engage  for  its  object;  and  it  being  generally 
known  to  France  and  Spain  that  we  had  entered  into  treaty 
with  England,  would  probably  insure  us  a  peaceable  and 
immediate  settlement  of  both  points.  But  another  motive 
much  more  powerful  would  indubitably  induce  England  to 
go  much  further.  Whatever  ill-humor  may  at  times  have 
been  expressed  against  us  by  individuals  of  that  country, 
the  first  wish  of  every  Englishman's  heart  is  to  see  us  once 
more  fighting  by  their  sides  against  France ;  nor  could  the 
King  or  his  ministers  do  an  act  so  popular  as  to  enter  into 
an  alliance  with  us.  The  nation  would  not  weigh  the  con 
sideration  by  grains  and  scruples.  They  would  consider  it 



as  the  price  and  pledge  of  an  indissoluble  friendship.  I 
think  it  possible  that  for  such  a  provisional  treaty  they 
would  give  us  their  general  guarantee  of  Louisiana  and  the 
Floridas.  At  any  rate  we  might  try  them.  A  failure  would 
not  make  our  situation  worse.  If  such  a  one  could  be  ob 
tained  we  might  await  our  own  convenience  for  calling  up 
the  casus  fcederis.  I  think  it  important  that  England 
should  receive  an  overture  as  early  as  possible,  as  it  might 
prevent  her  listening  to  terms  of  peace.  If  I  recollect 
rightly,  we  had  instructed  Moreau,  when  he  went  to  Paris, 
to  settle  the  deposit;  if  he  failed  in  that  object  to  propose  a 
treaty  to  England  immediately.  We  could  not  be  more  en 
gaged  to  secure  the  deposit  then  than  we  are  the  country 
now,  after  paying  fifteen  millions  for  it.  I  do  expect, 
therefore,  that,  considering  the  present  state  of  things  as 
analogous  to  that,  and  virtually  within  his  instructions,  he 
will  very  likely  make  the  proposition  to  England. 

Introducing  his  Grandson — Estimate  of 

To  Dr.  Benjamin  Rush 

WASHINGTON,  January  3,  1808. 

Dear  Sir:  In  the  ensuing  autumn,  I  shall  be  sending  on 
to  Philadelphia  a  grandson  of  about  fifteen  years  of  age, 
to  whom  I  shall  ask  your  friendly  attentions.  Without 
that  bright  fancy  which  captivates,  I  am  in  hopes  he  pos 
sesses  sound  judgment  and  much  observation;  and,  what  I 
value  more  than  all  tilings,  good  humor.  For  thus  I  esti 
mate  the  qualities  of  the  mind:  1,  good  humor;  2,  integrity; 
8,  industry;  4,  science.  The  preference  of  the  first  to  the 



second  quality  may  not  at  first  be  acquiesced  in ;  but  cer 
tainly  we  had  all  rather  associate  with  a  good-humored, 
light-principled  man,  than  with  an  ill-tempered  rigorist  in 

Urging  Him  to  Run  for  Congress 

To  William  Wirt,  Esq. 

WASHINGTON,  January  10,  1808. 

Dear  Sir:  I  pray  you  that  this  letter  may  be  sacredly 
secret,  because  it  meddles  in  a  line  wherein  I  should  myself 
think  it  wrong  to  intermeddle,  were  it  not  that  it  looks  to 
a  period  when  I  shall  be  out  of  office;  but  others  might 
think  it  wrong  notwithstanding  that  circumstance.  I  sus 
pected,  from  your  desire  to  go  into  the  army,  that  you  dis 
liked  your  profession,  notwithstanding  that  your  prospects 
in  it  were  inferior  to  none  in  the  State.  Still  I  know  that 
no  profession  is  open  to  stronger  antipathies  than  that  of 
the  law.  The  object  of  this  letter,  then,  is  to  propose  to 
you  to  come  into  Congress.  That  is  the  great  commanding 
theatre  of  this  nation,  and  the  threshold  to  whatever  de 
partment  of  office  a  man  is  qualified  to  enter.  With  your 
reputation,  talents,  and  correct  views,  used  with  the  neces 
sary  prudence,  you  will  at  once  be  placed  at  the  head  of 
the  republican  body  in  the  House  of  Representatives ;  and 
after  obtaining  the  standing  which  a  little  time  will  insure 
you,  you  may  look,  at  your  own  will,  into  the  military,  the 
judiciary,  diplomatic,  or  other  civil  departments,  with  a  cer 
tainty  of  being  in  either  whatever  you  please.  And  in  the 
present  state  of  what  may  be  called  the  eminent  talents  of 
our  country,  you  may  be  assured  of  being  engaged  through 
life  Ln  the  most  honorable  employments.  If  you  come  in  at 



the  next  election,  you  will  begin  your  course  with  a  new 
administration.  That  administration  will  be  opposed  by  a 
faction,  small  in  numbers,  but  governed  by  no  principle  but 
the  most  envenomed  malignity.  They  will  endeavor  to  bat 
ter  down  the  Executive  before  it  will  have  time,  by  its  pur 
ity  and  correctness,  to  build  up  a  confidence  with  the  people, 
founded  on  experiment.  By  supporting  them  you  will  lay 
for  yourself  a  broad  foundation  in  the  public  confidence, 
and  indeed  you  will  become  the  Colossus  of  the  republican 
government  of  your  country.  I  will  not  say  that  public  life 
is  the  line  for  making  a  fortune.  But  it  furnishes  a  decent 
and  honorable  support,  and  places  one's  children  on  good 
grounds  for  public  favor.  The  family  of  a  beloved  father 
will  stand  with  the  public  on  the  most  favorable  ground 
of  competition.  Had  General  Washington  left  children, 
what  would  have  been  denied  to  them? 

Reasons  for  Refusing  to  Proclaim  a  Fast 

To  the  Rev.  Samuel  Miller 

WASHINGTON,  January  23,  1808. 

Sir:  I  consider  the  Government  of  the  United  States  as 
interdicted  by  the  Constitution  from  intermeddling  with  re 
ligious  institutions,  their  doctrines,  discipline,  or  exercises. 
This  results  not  only  from  the  provision  that  no  law  shall 
be  made  respecting  the  establishment  or  free  exercise  of 
religion,  but  from  that  also  which  reserves  to  the  States  the 
powers  not  delegated  to  the  United  States.  Certainly,  no 
power  to  prescribe  any  religious  exercise,  or  to  assume 
authority  in  religious  discipline,  has  been  delegated  to  the 
General  Government.  It  must  then  rest  with  the  States, 
as  far  as  it  can  be  in  any  human  authority.  But  it  is  only 



proposed  that  I  should  recommend,  not  prescribe  a  day  of 
fasting  arid  prayer.  That  is,  that  I  should  indirectly  as 
sume  to  the  United  States  an  authority  over  religious  exer 
cises,  which  the  Constitution  has  directly  precluded  them 
from.  It  must  be  meant,  too,  that  this  recommendation  is 
to  carry  some  authority,  and  to  be  sanctioned  by  some  pen 
alty  on  those  who  disregard  it;  not  indeed  of  fine  and 
imprisonment,  but  of  some  degree  of  proscription,  perhaps 
in  public  opinion.  And  does  the  change  in  the  nature  of 
the  penalty  make  the  recommendation  less  a  law  of  conduct 
for  those  to  whom  it  is  directed  ?  I  do  not  believe  it  is  for 
the  interest  of  religion  to  invite  the  civil  magistrate  to  direct 
its  exercises,  its  discipline,  or  its  doctrines ;  nor  of  the  re 
ligious  societies,  that  the  General  Government  should  be 
invested  with  the  power  of  effecting  any  uniformity  of  time 
or  matter  among  them.  Fasting  and  prayer  are  religious 
exercises;  the  enjoining  them  an  act  of  discipline.  Every 
religious  society  has  a  right  to  determine  for  itself  the 
times  for  these  exercises,  and  the  objects  proper  for  them, 
according  to  their  own  particular  tenets;  and  this  right  can 
never  be  safer  than  in  their  own  hands,  where  the  Consti 
tution  has  deposited  it. 

On  Public  Ownership 

To  William  B.  Bibb 

MONTICELLO,  July  28,   1808. 

Sir:  I  received  duly  your  favor  of  July  1st,  covering 
an  offer  of  Mr.  McDonald  of  an  iron  mine  to  the  public, 
and  I  thank  you  for  taking  the  trouble  of  making  the  com 
munication,  as  it  might  have  its  utility.  But  having  always 
observed  that  public  works  are  much  less  advantageously 



managed  than  the  same  are  by  private  hands,  I  have  thought 
it  better  for  the  public  to  go  to  market  for  whatever  it 
wants  which  is  to  be  found  there;  for  there  competition 
brings  it  down  to  the  minimum  of  value.  I  have  no  doubt 
we  can  buy  brass  cannon  at  market  cheaper  than  we  could 
make  iron  ones.  I  think  it  material,  too,  not  to  abstract  the 
high  executive  officers  from  those  functions  which  nobody 
else  is  charged  to  carry  on,  and  to  employ  them  in  super 
intending  works  which  are  going  on  abundantly  in  private 
hands.  Our  predecessors  went  on  different  principles; 
they  bought  iron  mines,  and  sought  for  copper  ones.  We 
own  a  mine  at  Harper's  Ferry  of  the  finest  iron  ever  put 
into  a  cannon,  which  we  are  afraid  to  attempt  to  work. 
We  have  rented  it  heretofore,  but  it  is  now  without  a  tenant. 

Advice  as  to  Conduct  and  Character 

WASHINGTON,  November  24,  1808. 

My  dear  Jefferson :  .  .  .  Your  situation,  thrown  at 
such  a  distance  from  us,  and  alone,  cannot  but  give  us  all 
great  anxieties  for  you.  As  much  has  been  secured  for 
you,  by  your  particular  position  and  the  acquaintance  to 
which  you  have  been  recommended,  as  could  be  done 
toward  shielding  you  from  the  dangers  which  surround 
you.  But  thrown  on  a  wide  world,  among  entire  stran 
gers,  without  a  friend  or  guardian  to  advise,  so  young,  too, 
and  with  so  little  experience  of  mankind,  your  dangers  are 
great,  and  still  your  safety  must  rest  on  yourself.  A  de 
termination  never  to  do  what  is  wrong,  prudence,  and  good- 
humor,  will  go  far  toward  securing  to  you  the  estimation 
of  the  world.  When  I  recollect  that  at  fourteen  years  of 



age,  the  whole  care  and  direction  of  myself  was  thrown  on 
myself  entirely,  without  a  relation  or  friend  qualified  to  ad 
vise  or  guide  me,  and  recollect  the  various  sorts  of  bad 
company  with  which  I  associated  from  time  to  time,  I  am 
astonished  I  did  not  turn  off  with  some  of  them,  and  become 
as  worthless  to  society  as  they  were.  I  had  the  good  fort 
une  to  become  acquainted  very  early  with  some  characters 
of  very  high  standing,  and  to  feel  the  incessant  wish  that  I 
could  ever  become  what  they  were.  Under  temptations  and 
difficulties,  I  would  ask  myself  what  would  Dr.  Small,  Mr. 
Wythe,  Peyton  Randolph  do  in  this  situation  ?  What 
course  in  it  will  insure  me  their  approbation?  I  am  cer 
tain  that  this  mode  of  deciding  on  my  conduct,  tended  more 
to  correctness  than  any  reasoning  powers  I  possessed. 
Knowing  the  even  and  dignified  line  they  pursued,  I  could 
never  doubt  for  a  moment  which  of  two  courses  would  be 
in  character  for  them.  Whereas,  seeking  the  same  object 
through  a  process  of  moral  reasoning,  and  with  the  jaun 
diced  eye  of  youth,  I  should  often  have  erred.  From  the 
circumstances  of  my  position,  I  was  often  thrown  into  the 
society  of  horse-racers,  card-players,  fox-hunters,  scientific 
and  professional  men,  and  of  dignified  men;  and  many  a 
time  have  I  asked  myself,  in  the  enthusiastic  moment  of  the 
death  of  a  fox,  the  victory  of  a  favorite  horse,  the  issue  of 
a  question  eloquently  argued  at  the  bar,  or  in  the  great 
council  of  the  nation,  well,  which  of  these  kinds  of  reputa 
tion  should  I  prefer?  That  of  a  horse-jockey,  a  fox- 
hunter,  an  orator,  or  the  honest  advocate  of  my  country's 
rights  ?  Be  assured,  my  dear  Jefferson,  that  these  little 
returns  into  ourselves,  this  self-catechising  habit,  is  not 
trifling  nor  useless,  but  leads  to  the  prudent  selection  and 
steady  pursuit  of  what  is  right. 

I  have  mentioned  good-humor  as  one  of  the  preservatives 
of  our  peace  and  tranquillity.     It  is  among  the  most  effect- 



ual,  and  its  effect  is  so  well  imitated  and  aided,  artificially, 
by  politeness,  that  this  also  becomes  an  acquisition  of  first- 
rate  value.  In  truth,  politeness  is  artificial  good  humor,  it 
covers  the  natural  want  of  it,  and  ends  by  rendering 
habitual  a  substitute  nearly  equivalent  to  the  real  virtue. 
It  is  the  practice  of  sacrificing  to  those  whom  we  meet  in 
society,  all  the  little  conveniences  and  preferences  which 
will  gratify  them,  and  deprive  us  of  nothing  worth  a  mo 
ment's  consideration ;  it  is  the  giving  a  pleasing  and  flatter 
ing  turn  to  our  expressions,  which  will  conciliate  others,  and 
make  them  pleased  with  us  as  well  as  themselves.  How 
cheap  a  price  for  the  good  will  of  another !  When  this  is 
in  return  for  a  rude  thing  said  by  another,  it  brings  him  to 
his  senses,  it  mortifies  and  corrects  him  in  the  most  salutary 
way,  and  places  him  at  the  feet  of  your  good  nature  in  the 
eyes  of  the  company.  But  in  stating  prudential  rules  for 
our  government  in  society,  I  must  not  omit  the  important 
one  of  never  entering  into  dispute  or  argument  with  another. 
I  never  saw  an  instance  of  one  of  two  disputants  convinc 
ing  the  other  by  argument.  I  have  seen  many,  on  their 
getting  warm,  becoming  rude,  and  shooting  one  another. 
Conviction  is  the  effect  of  our  own  dispassionate  reasoning, 
either  in  solitude,  or  weighing  within  ourselves,  dispas 
sionately,  what  we  hear  from  others,  standing  uncommit 
ted  in  argument  ourselves.  It  was  one  of  the  rules  which, 
above  all  others,  made  Dr.  Franklin  the  most  amiable 
of  men  in  society,  "never  to  contradict  anybody."  If  he 
was  urged  to  announce  an  opinion,  lie  did  it  rather  by  ask 
ing  questions,  as  if  for  information,  or  by  suggesting 
doubts.  When  I  hear  another  express  an  opinion  which  is 
not  mine,  I  say  to  myself,  He  has  a  right  to  his  opinion,  as 
I  to  mine;  why  should  I  question  it?  His  error  does  me 
no  injury,  and  shall  I  become  a  Don  Quixote,  to  bring  all 
men  by  force  of  argument  to  one  opinion?  If  a  fact  be 



misstated,  it  is  probable  he  is  gratified  by  a  belief  of  it,  and 
I  have  no  right  to  deprive  him  of  the  gratification.  If  he 
wants  information,  he  will  ask  it,  and  then  I  will  give  it 
in  measured  terms ;  but  if  he  still  believes  his  own  story, 
and  shows  a  desire  to  dispute  the  fact  with  me,  I  hear  him 
and  say  nothing.  It  is  his  affair,  not  mine,  if  he  prefers 
error.  There  are  two  classes  of  disputants  most  frequently 
to  be  met  with  among  us.  The  first  is  of  young  students, 
just  entered  the  threshold  of  science,  with  a  first  view  of 
its  outlines,  not  yet  filled  up  with  the  details  and  modifica 
tions  which  a  further  progress  would  bring  to  their  knowl 
edge.  The  other  consists  of  the  ill-tempered  and  rude  men 
in  society,  who  have  taken  up  a  passion  for  politics.  (Good- 
humor  and  politeness  never  introduce  into  mixed  society, 
a  question  on  which  they  foresee  there  will  be  a  difference 
here  of  opinion.)  From  both  of  these  classes  of  dispu 
tants,  my  dear  Jefferson,  keep  aloof,  as  you  would  from 
the  infected  subjects  of  yellow  fever  or  pestilence.  Con 
sider  yourself,  when  with  them,  as  among  the  patients  of 
Bedlam,  needing  medical  more  than  moral  counsel.  Be  a 
listener  only,  keep  within  j-ourself,  and  endeavor  to  estab 
lish  with  yourself  the  habit  of  silence,  especially  on  politics. 
In  the  fevered  state  of  our  country,  no  good  can  ever  result 
from  any  attempt  to  set  one  of  these  fiery  zealots  to 
rights,  either  in  fact  or  principle.  They  are  determined 
as  to  the  facts  they  will  believe,  and  the  opinions  on  which 
they  will  act.  Get  by  them,  therefore,  as  you  would  by 
an  angry  bull;  it  is  not  for  a  man  of  sense  to  dispute  the 
road  with  such  an  animal.  You  will  be  more  exposed 
than  others  to  have  these  animals  shaking  their  horns  at 
you,  because  of  the  relation  in  which  you  stand  with  me. 
Full  of  political  venom,  and  willing  to  see  me  and  to  hate 
me  as  a  chief  in  the  antagonist  party,  your  presence  will 
be  to  them  what  the  vomit  grass  is  to  the  sick  dog,  a 



nostrum  for  producing  ejaculation.  Look  upon  them  ex 
actly  with  that  eye,  and  pity  them  as  objects  to  whom 
you  can  administer  only  occasional  ease.  My  character  is 
not  within  their  power.  It  is  in  the  hands  of  my  fellow- 
citizens  at  large,  and  will  be  consigned  to  honor  or  infamy 
by  the  verdict  of  the  republican  mass  of  oui  country,  ac 
cording  to  what  themselves  will  have  seen,  not  what  their 
enemies  and  mine  shall  have  said.  Never,  therefore,  con 
sider  these  puppies  in  politics  as  requiring  any  notice 
from  you,  and  always  show  that  you  are  not  afraid  to 
leave  my  character  to  the  umpirage  of  public  opinion. 
Look  steadily  to  the  pursuits  which  have  carried  you  to 
Philadelphia,  be  very  select  in  the  society  you  attach 
yourself  to,  avoid  taverns,  drinkers,  smokers,  idlers,  and 
dissipated  persons  generally;  for  it  is  with  such  that 
broils  and  contentions  arise,  and  you  will  find  your  path 
more  easy  and  tranquil.  The  limits  of  my  paper  warn  me 
that  it  is  time  for  me  to  close  with  my  affectionate  adieu. 

Valedictory  to  Congress — December,  1808 

Last  Annual   Message 

Availing  myself  of  this  the  last  occasion  which  will 
occur  of  addressing  the  two  houses  of  the  Legislature  at 
their  meeting,  I  cannot  omit  the  expression  of  my  sincere 
gratitude  for  the  repeated  proofs  of  confidence  manifested 
to  me  by  themselves  and  their  predecessors  since  my  call 
to  the  administration,  and  the  many  indulgences  experi 
enced  at  their  hands.  The  same  grateful  acknowledgments 
are  due  to  my  fellow-citizens  generally,  whose  support 
has  been  my  great  encouragement  under  all  embarrass 
ments.  In  the  transaction  of  their  business  I  cannot  have 



escaped  error.  It  is  incident  to  our  imperfect  nature.  But 
I  may  say  with  truth,  my  errors  have  been  of  the  under 
standing,  not  of  intention ;  and  that  the  advancement  of 
their  rights  and  interests  has  been  the  constant  motive  for 
every  measure.  On  these  considerations  I  solicit  their  in 
dulgence.  Looking  forward  with  anxiety  to  their  future 
destinies,  I  trust  that  in  their  steady  character  unshaken 
by  difficulties,  in  their  love  of  liberty,  obedience  to  law, 
and  support  of  the  public  authorities,  I  see  a  sure  guar 
antee  of  the  permanence  of  our  Republic;  and  retiring 
from  the  charge  of  their  affairs,  I  carry  with  me  the  con 
solation  of  a  firm  persuasion  that  Heaven  has  in  store  for 
our  beloved  country  long  ages  to  come  of  prosperity  and 

vice  to  Indian  Chiefs 

To     Captain    Hendrich,     the    Delarvares,    Mohicans,    and 

WASHINGTON,  December  21,  1808. 

My  Son  and  my  Children:  I  am  glad  to  see  you  here,  to 
receive  your  salutations,  and  to  return  them  by  taking  you 
by  the  hand,  and  renewing  to  you  the  assurances  of  my 
friendship.  I  learn  with  pleasure  that  the  Miamis  and 
Powtawatamies  have  given  you  some  of  their  lands  on  the 
White  River  to  live  on,  and  that  you  propose  to  gather  there 
your  scattered  tribes,  and  to  dwell  on  it  all  your  days. 

The  picture  which  you  have  drawn,  my  son,  of  the  in 
crease  of  our  numbers  and  the  decrease  of  yours  is  just, 
the  causes  are  very  plain,  and  the  remedy  depends  on 
yourselves  alone.  You  have  lived  by  hunting  the  deer  and 
buffalo — all  these  have  been  driven  westward;  you  have 



sold  out  on  the  sea-board  and  moved  westwardly  in  pur 
suit  of  them.  As  they  became  scarce  there,  your  food  has 
failed  you;  you  have  been  a  part  of  every  year  without 
food,  except  the  roots  and  other  unwholesome  things  you 
could  find  in  the  forest.  Scanty  and  unwholesome  food 
produce  diseases  and  death  among  your  children,  and 
hence  you  have  raised  few  and  your  numbers  have  de 
creased.  Frequent  wars,  too,  and  the  abuse  of  spirituous 
liquors,  have  assisted  in  lessening  your  numbers.  The 
whites,  on  the  other  hand,  are  in  the  habit  of  cultivating 
the  earth,  of  raising  stocks  of  cattle,  hogs,  and  other 
domestic  animals,  in  much  greater  numbers  than  they  could 
kill  of  deer  and  buffalo.  Having  always  a  plenty  of  food 
and  clothing  they  raise  abundance  of  children,  they  double 
their  numbers  every  twenty  years,  the  new  swarms  are 
continually  advancing  upon  the  country  like  flocks  of 
pigeons,  and  so  they  will  continue  to  do.  Now,  my  chil 
dren,  if  we  wanted  to. diminish  our  numbers,  we  would  give 
up  the  culture  of  the  earth,  pursue  the  deer  and  buifalo, 
and  be  always  at  war;  this  would  soon  reduce  us  to  be  as 
few  as  you  are,  and  if  you  wish  to  increase  your  numbers 
you  must  give  up  the  deer  and  buffalo,  live  in  peace,  and 
cultivate  the  earth.  You  see  then,  my  children,  that  it 
depends  on  yourselves  alone  to  become  a  numerous  and 
great  people.  Let  me  entreat  you,  therefore,  on  the  lands 
now  given  you  to  begin  to  give  every  man  a  farm ;  let  him 
enclose  it,  cultivate  it,  build  a  warm  house  on  it,  and  when 
he  dies,  let  it  belong  to  his  wife  and  children  after  him. 
Nothing  is  so  easy  as  to  learn  to  cultivate  the  earth;  all 
your  women  understand  it,  and  to  make  it  easier,  we  are 
always  ready  to  teach  you  how  to  make  ploughs,  hoes,  and 
necessary  utensils.  If  the  men  will  take  the  labor  of  the 
earth  from  the  women  they  will  learn  to  spin  and  weave 
and  to  clothe  their  families.  In  this  way  you  will  also 



raise  many  children,  you  will  double  your  numbers  every 
twenty  years,  and  soon  fill  the  land  your  friends  have  given 
you,  and  your  children  will  never  be  tempted  to  sell  the 
spot  on  which  they  have  been  born,  raised,  have  labored 
and  called  their  own.  When  once  you  have  property,  you 
will  want  laws  and  magistrates  to  protect  your  property 
and  persons,  and  to  punish  those  among  you  who  commit 
crimes.  You  will  find  that  our  laws  are  good  for  this 
purpose;  you  will  wish  to  live  under  them,  you  will  unite 
yourselves  with  us,  join  in  our  Great  Councils  and  form 
one  people  with  us,  and  we  shall  all  be  Americans ;  you 
will  mix  with  us  by  marriage,  your  blood  will  run  in  our 
veins,  and  will  spread  with  us  over  this  great  island.  In 
stead,  then,  my  children,  of  the  gloomy  prospect  you  have 
drawn  of  your  total  disappearance  from  the  face  of  the 
earth,  which  is  true,  if  you  continue  to  hunt  the  deer  and 
buffalo  and  go  to  war,  you  see  what  a  brilliant  aspect  is 
offered  to  our  future  history,  if  you  give  up  war  and  hunt 
ing.  Adopt  the  culture  of  the  earth  and  raise  domestic 
animals ;  you  see  how  from  a  small  family  you  may  become 
a  great  nation  by  adopting  the  course  which  from  the  small 
beginning  you  describe  has  made  us  a  great  nation. 

My  children,  I  will  give  you  a  paper  declaring  your  right 
to  hold,  against  all  persons,  the  lands  given  you  by  the 
Miamis  and  Powtawatamies,  and  that  you  never  can  sell 
them  without  their  consent.  But  I  must  tell  you  that  if 
ever  they  and  you  agree  to  sell,  no  paper  which  I  can  give 
you  can  prevent  your  doing  what  you  please  with  your 
own.  The  only  way  to  prevent  this  is  to  give  to  every  one 
of  your  people  a  farm,  which  shall  belong  to  him  and  his 
family,  and  which  the  nation  shall  have  no  right  to  take 
from  them  and  sell ;  in  this  way  alone  can  you  insure  the 
lands  to  your  descendants  through  all  generations,  and  that 
it  shall  never  be  sold  from  under  their  feet.  It  is  not  the 



keeping  your  lands  which  will  keep  your  people  alive  on 
them  after  the  deer  and  buffalo  shall  have  left  them;  it 
is  the  cultivating  them  alone  which  can  do  that.  The  hun 
dredth  part  in  corn  and  cattle  will  support  you  better  than 
the  whole  in  deer  and  buffalo. 

My  son  Hendrick,  deliver  these  words  to  your  people. 
I  have  spoken  to  them  plainly,  that  they  may  see  what  is 
before  them,  and  that  it  is  in  their  own  power  to  go  on 
dwindling  to  nothing,  or  to  become  again  a  great  people. 
It  is  for  this  reason  I  wish  them  to  live  in  peace  with  all 
people,  to  teach  their  young  men  to  love  agriculture, 
rather  than  war  and  hunting.  Let  these  words  sink  deep 
in  their  hearts,  and  let  them  often  repeat  them  and  consider 
them.  Tell  them  that  I  hold  them  fast  by  the  hand,  and 
that  I  will  ever  be  their  friend  to  advise  and  to  assist  them 
in  following  the  true  path  to  their  future  happiness. 

To  Thomas  Leiper 

WASHINGTON,  January  21,  1809- 

I  have  lately  inculcated  the  encouragement  of  manufact 
ures  to  the  extent  of  our  own  consumption,  at  least,  in  all 
articles  of  which  we  raise  the  raw  material.  On  this  the 
federal  papers  and  meetings  have  sounded  the  alarm  of 
Chinese  policy,  destruction  of  commerce,  etc. ;  that  is  to 
say,  the  iron  which  we  make  must  not  be  wrought  here 
into  ploughs,  axes,  hoes,  etc.,  in  order  that  the  ship 
owner  may  have  the  profit  of  carrying  it  to  Europe,  and 
bringing  it  back  in  a  manufactured  form,  as  if  after  manu 
facturing  our  own  raw  materials  for  our  own  use,  there 
would  not  be  a  surplus  produce  sufficient  to  employ  a  due 



proportion  of  navigation  in  carrying  it  to  market  and  ex 
changing  it  for  those  articles  of  which  we  have  not  the 
raw  material.  Yet  this  absurd  hue  and  cry  has  contributed 
much  to  federalize  New  England;  their  doctrine  goes  to 
the  sacrificing  agriculture  and  manufactures  to  commerce; 
to  the  calling  all  our  people  from  the  interior  country  to 
the  sea-shore  to  turn  merchants,  and  to  convert  this  great 
agricultural  country  into  a  city  of  Amsterdam.  But  I  trust 
the  good  sense  of  our  country  will  see  that  its  greatest 
prosperity  depends  on  a  due  balance  between  agriculture, 
manufactures,  and  commerce,  and  not  in  this  protuberant 
navigation  which  has  kept  us  in  hot  water  from  the  com 
mencement  of  our  Government,  and  is  now  engaging  us 
in  war.  That  this  may  be  avoided,  if  it  can  be  done  with 
out  a  surrender  of  rights,  is  my  sincere  prayer.  Accept 
the  assurances  of  my  constant  esteem  and  respect. 

On  the  Annexation  of  Cuba 

To   the  President  of  the   United  States 
(James  Madison^) 

MONTICELLO,  April  27,   1809. 

As  to  Bonaparte,  I  should  not  doubt  the  revocation  of  his 
edicts  were  he  governed  by  reason.  But  his  policy  is  so 
crooked  that  it  eludes  conjecture.  .  .  .  He  ought  the 
more  to  conciliate  our  good  will,  as  we  can 'be  such  an  ob 
stacle  to  the  new  career  opening  on  him  in  the  Spanish 
colonies.  That  he  would  give  us  the  Floridas  to  withhold 
intercourse  with  the  residue  of  those  colonies,  cannot  be 
doubted.  But  that  is  no  price;  because  they  are  ours  in 
the  first  moment  of  the  first  war;  and  until  a  war  they  are 
of  no  particular  necessity  to  us.  But,  although  with  diffi 
culty,  he  will  consent  to  our  receiving  Cuba  into  our  Union, 



to  prevent  our  aid  to  Mexico  and  the  other  provinces.  That 
would  be  a  price,  and  I  would  immediately  erect  a  column 
on  the  southernmost  limit  of  Cuba,  and  inscribe  on  it  a  ne 
plus  ultra  as  to  us  in  that  direction.  We  should  then  have 
only  to  include  the  North  in  our  Confederacy,  which  would 
be  of  course  in  the  first  war,  and  we  should  have  such  an 
empire  for  Liberty  as  she  has  never  surveyed  since  the 
creation;  and  I  am  persuaded  no  constitution  was  ever  be 
fore  so  well  calculated  as  ours  for  extensive  empire  and 
self-government.  As  the  Mentor  went  away  before  this 
change,  and  will  leave  France  probably  while  it  is  still  a 
secret  in  that  hemisphere,  I  presume  the  expediency  of  pur 
suing  her  by  a  swift  sailing  despatch  was  considered.  It 
will  be  objected  to  our  receiving  Cuba,  that  no  limit  can 
then  be  drawn  to  our  future  acquisitions.  Cuba  can  be  de 
fended  by  us  without  a  navy,  and  this  develops  the  prin 
ciple  which  ought  to  limit  our  views.  Nothing  should  ever 
be  accepted  which  would  require  a  navy  to  defend  it. 

On  the  Choice  of  a  Profession 

To  Judge  David  Campbell 

MONTICELLO,  January  28,  1810. 

Law  is  quite  overdone.  It  is  fallen  to  the  ground,  and  a 
man  must  have  great  powers  to  raise  himself  in  it  to  either 
honor  or  profit.  The  mob  of  the  profession  get  as  little 
money  and  less  respect  than  they  would  by  digging  the 
earth.  The  followers  of  Esculapius  are  also  numerous. 
Yet  I  have  remarked  that  wherever  one  sets  himself  down  in 
a  good  neighborhood,  not  pre-occupied,  he  secures  to  himself 
its  practice,  and  if  prudent,  is  not  long  in  acquiring  whereon 
to  retire  and  live  in  comfort.  The  physician  is  happy  in  the 



attachment  of  the  families  in  which  he  practises.  All  think 
he  has  saved  some  one  of  them,  and  he  finds  himself  every 
where  a  welcome  guest,  a  home  in  every  house.  If,  to  the 
consciousness  of  having  saved  some  lives,  he  can  add  that  of 
having  at  no  time,  from  want  of  caution,  destroyed  the  boon 
he  was  called  on  to  save,  he  will  enjoy,  in  age,  the  happy 
reflection  of  not  having  lived  in  vain;  while  the  lawyer  has 
only  to  recollect  how  many,  by  his  dexterity,  have  been 
cheated  of  their  right  and  reduced  to  beggary. 

On  his  Marnier  of  Life 

To   General   Thaddeus  Kosciusko 

MONTICELLO,  February  26,  1810. 

So  much  as  to  my  country.  Now  a  word  as  to  myself. 
I  am  retired  to  Monticello,  where,  in  the  bosom  of  my  fam 
ily,  and  surrounded  by  my  books,  I  enjoy  a  repose  to  which 
I  have  been  long  a  stranger.  My  mornings  are  devoted  to 
correspondence.  From  breakfast  to  dinner,  I  am  in  my 
shops,  my  garden,  or  on  horseback  among  my  farms ;  from 
dinner  to  dark,  I  give  to  society  and  recreation  with  my 
neighbors  and  friends ;  and  from  candle-light  to  early  bed 
time,  I  read.  My  health  is  perfect;  and  my  strength  con 
siderably  reenforced  by  the  activity  of  the  course  I  pursue; 
perhaps  it  is  as  great  as  usually  falls  to  the  lot  of  near 
sixty-seven  years  of  age.  I  talk  of  ploughs  and  harrows, 
of  seeding  and  harvesting,  with  my  neighbors,  and  of  poli 
tics,  too,  if  they  choose,  with  as  little  reserve  as  the  rest  of 
my  fellow-citizens,  and  feel,  at  length,  the  blessing  of  being 
free  to  say  and  do  what  I  please,  without  being  responsible 
for  it  to  any  mortal.  A  part  of  my  occupation,  and  by  no 
means  the  least  pleasing,  is  the  direction  of  the  studies  of 



such  young  men  as'  ask  it.  They  place  themselves  in  the 
neighboring  village,  and  have  the  use  of  my  library  and 
counsel,  and  make  a  part  of  my  society.  In  advising  the 
course  of  their  reading,  I  endeavor  to  keep  their  attention 
fixed  on  the  main  objects  of  all  science,  the  freedom  and 
happiness  of  man.  So  that  coming  to  bear  a  share  in  the 
councils  and  governments  of  their  country,  they  will  keep 
ever  in  view  the  sole  objects  of  all  legitimate  government. 

On  the  Breeding  of  Kings 

To  Governor  John  Langdon 

MONTICELLO,  March  5,  1810. 

When  I  observed,  that  the  King  of  England  was  a  cipher, 
I  did  not  mean  to  confine  the  observation  to  the  mere  indi 
vidual  now  on  that  throne.  The  practice  of  Kings  marry 
ing  only  in  the  families  of  Kings  has  been  that  of  Europe 
for  some  centuries.  Now,  take  any  race  of  animals,  confine 
them  in  idleness  and  inaction,  whether  in  a  sty,  a  stable, 
or  a  state-room,  pamper  them  with  high  diet,  gratify  all 
their  sexual  appetites,  immerse  them  in  sensualities,  nourish 
their  passions,  let  everything  bend  before  them,  and  banish 
whatever  might  lead  them  to  think,  and  in  a  few  generations 
they  become  all  body  and  no  mind ;  and  this,  too,  by  a  law  of 
nature,  by  that  very  law  by  which  we  are  in  the  constant 
practice  of  changing  the  characters  and  propensities  of 
the  animals  we  raise  for  our  own  purposes.  Such  is  the  reg 
imen  in  raising  Kings,  and  in  this  way  they  have  gone  on 
for  centuries.  While  in  Europe,  I  often  amused  myself 
with  contemplating  the  characters  of  the  then  reigning  sov 
ereigns  of  Europe.  Louis  the  XVI.  was  a  fool,  of  my  own 
knowledge,  and  in  despite  of  the  answers  made  for  him  at 



his  trial.  The  King  of  Spain  was  a  fool,  and  of  Naples  the 
same.  They  passed  their  lives  in  hunting,  and  despatched 
two  couriers  a  week,  one  thousand  miles,  to  let  each 
other  know  what  game  they  had  killed  the  preceding  days. 
The  King  of  Sardinia  was  a  fool.  All  these  were  Bourbons. 
The  Queen  of  Portugal,  a  Braganza,  was  an  idiot  by  nature. 
And  so  was  the  King  of  Denmark.  Their  sons,  as  regents, 
exercised  the  powers  of  government.  The  King  of  Prussia, 
successor  to  the  great  Frederick,  was  a  mere  hog  in  body  as 
well  as  in  mind.  Gustavus  of  Sweden,  and  Joseph  of 
Austria,  were  really  crazy,  and  George  of  England,  you 
know,  was  in  a  strait-waistcoat.  There  remained,  then, 
none  but  old  Catharine,  who  had  been  too  lately  picked  up 
to  have  lost  her  common  sense.  In  this  state  Bonaparte 
found  Europe ;  and  it  was  this  state  of  its  rulers  which  lost 
it  with  scarce  a  struggle.  These  animals  had  become  with 
out  mind  and  powerless ;  and  so  will  every  hereditary  mon 
arch  be  after  a  few  generations.  Alexander,  the  grandson 
of  Catharine,  is  as  yet  an  exception.  He  is  able  to  hold  his 
own.  But  he  is  only  of  the  third  generation.  His  race  is 
not  yet  worn  out.  And  so  endeth  the  book  of  Kings,  from 
all  of  whom  the  Lord  deliver  us,  and  have  you,  my  friend, 
and  all  such  good  men  and  true,  in  His  holy  keeping. 

Account  of  Break  idth  Adams 

To  Doctor  Benjamin  Rush 

MONTICELLO,  January  16,  1811. 

Dear  Sir:  I  receive  with  sensibility  your  observations  on 
the  discontinuance  of  friendly  correspondence  between  Mr. 
Adams  and  myself,  and  the  concern  you  take  in  its  restora 
tion.  This  discontinuance  has  not  proceeded  from  me,  nor 



from  the  want  of  sincere  desire  and  of  effort  on  my  part,  to 
renew  our  intercourse.  You  know  the  perfect  coincidence  of 
principle  and  of  action,  in  the  early  part  of  the  Revolution, 
which  produced  a  high  degree  of  mutual  respect  and  esteem 
between  Mr.  Adams  and  myself.  Certainly  no  man  was 
ever  truer  than  he  was,  in  that  day,  to  those  principles  of 
rational  republicanism  which,  after  the  necessity  of  throw 
ing  off  our  monarchy,  dictated  all  our  efforts  in  the  estab 
lishment  of  a  new  government.  And  although  he  swerved, 
afterward,  toward  the  principles  of  the  English  constitution, 
our  friendship  did  not  abate  on  that  account.  While  he  was 
Vice-President,  and  I  Secretary  of  State,  I  received  a  letter 
from  President  Washington,  then  at  Mount  Vernon,  desir 
ing  me  to  call  together  the  heads  of  departments,  and  to  in 
vite  Mr.  Adams  to  join  us  (which,  by  the  bye,  was  the  only 
instance  of  that  being  done)  in  order  to  determine  on  some 
measure  which  required  despatch ;  and  he  desired  me  to 
act  on  it,  as  decided,  without  again  recurring  to  him.  I  in 
vited  them  to  dine  with  me,  and  after  dinner,  sitting  at  our 
wine,  having  settled  our  question,  other  conversation  came 
on,  in  which  a  collision  of  opinion  arose  between  Mr.  Adams 
and  Colonel  Hamilton,  on  the  merits  of  the  British  constitu 
tion,  Mr.  Adams  giving  it  as  his  opinion,  that,  if  some  of  its 
defects  and  abuses  were  corrected,  it  would  be  the  most  per 
fect  constitution  of  government  ever  devised  by  man.  Ham 
ilton,  on  the  contrary,  asserted  that,  with  its  existing  vices, 
it  was  the  most  perfect  model  of  government  that  could  be 
formed ;  and  that  the  correction  of  its  vices  would  render  it 
an  impracticable  government.  And  this  you  may  be  as 
sured  was  the  real  line  of  difference  between  the  political 
principles  of  these  two  gentlemen.  Another  incident  took 
place  on  the  same  occasion,  which  will  further  delineate  Mr. 
Hamilton's  political  principles.  The  room  being  hung 
around  with  a  collection  of  the  portraits  of  remarkable  men, 



among  them  those  of  Bacon,  Newton,  and  Locke,  Ham 
ilton  asked  me  who  they  were.  I  told  him  they  were  my 
trinity  of  the  three  greatest  men  the  world  had  ever  pro 
duced,  naming  them.  He  paused  for  some  time:  "The 
greatest  man,"  said  he,  "that  ever  lived,  was  Julius  Cassar." 
Mr.  Adams  was  honest  as  a  politician,  as  well  as  a  man ; 
Hamilton  honest  as  a  man,  but,  as  a  politician,  believing  in 
the  necessity  of  either  force  or  corruption  to  govern  men. 

You  remember  the  machinery  which  the  federalists  played 
off,  about  that  time,  to  beat  down  the  friends  to  the  real 
principles  of  our  Constitution,  to  silence  by  terror  every 
expression  in  their  favor,  to  bring  us  into  war  with  France 
and  alliance  with  England,  and  finally  to  homologize  our 
Constitution  with  that  of  England.  Mr.  Adams,  you  know, 
was  overwhelmed  with  feverish  addresses,  dictated  by  the 
fear,  and  often  by  the  pen,  of  the  bloody  buoy,  and  was  se 
duced  by  them  into  some  open  indications  of  his  new  prin 
ciples  of  government,  and,  in  fact,  was  so  elated  as  to  mix 
with  his  kindness  a  little  superciliousness  toward  me.  Even 
Mrs.  Adams,  with  all  her  good  sense  and  prudence,  was  sen 
sibly  flushed.  And  you  recollect  the  short  suspension  of  our 
intercourse,  and  the  circumstance  which  gave  rise  to  it, 
which  you  were  so  good  as  to  bring  to  an  early  explanation, 
and  have  set  to  rights,  to  the  cordial  satisfaction  of  us  all. 
The  nation  at  length  passed  condemnation  on  the  political 
principles  of  the  federalists,  by  refusing  to  continue  Mr. 
Adams  in  the  Presidency.  On  the  day  on  which  we  learned 
in  Philadelphia  the  vote  of  the  city  of  New  York,  which  it 
was  well  known  would  decide  the  vote  of  the  State,  and 
that,  again,  the  vote  of  the  Union,  I  called  on  Mr.  Adams 
on  some  official  business.  He  was  very  sensibly  affected, 
and  accosted  me  with  these  words:  "Well,  I  understand 
that  you  are  to  beat  me  in  this  contest,  and  I  will  only  say 
that  I  will  be  as  faithful  a  subject  as  any  you  will  have." 



"Mr.  Adams/'  said  I,  "this  is  no  personal  contest  between 
you  and  me.  Two  systems  of  principles  on  the  subject  of 
government  divide  our  fellow-citizens  into  two  parties. 
With  one  of  these  you  concur,  and  I  with  the  other.  As  we 
have  been  longer  on  the  public  stage  than  most  of  those  now 
living,  our  names  happen  to  be  more  generally  known.  One 
of  these  parties,  therefore,  has  put  your  name  at  its  head, 
the  other  mine.  Were  we  both  to  die  to-day,  to-morrow  two 
other  names  would  be  in  the  place  of  ours,  without  any 
change  in  the  motion  of  the  machinery.  Its  motion  is  from 
its  principle,  not  from  you  or  myself."  "I  believe  you  are 
right,"  said  he,  "that  we  are  but  passive  instruments,  and 
should  not  suffer  this  matter  to  affect  our  personal  disposi 
tions."  But  he  did  not  long  retain  this  just  view  of  the  sub 
ject.  I  have  always  believed  that  the  thousand  calumnies 
which  the  federalists,  in  bitterness  of  heart,  and  mortiiica- 
tion  at  their  ejection,  daily  invented  against  me,  were  carried 
to  him  by  their  busy  intriguers,  and  made  some  impression. 
When  the  election  between  Burr  and  myself  was  kept  in 
suspense  by  the  federalists,  and  they  were  meditating  to 
place  the  President  of  the  Senate  at  the  head  of  the  Govern 
ment,  I  called  on  Mr.  Adams  with  a  view  to  have  this  des 
perate  measure  prevented  by  his  negative.  He  grew  warm 
in  an  instant,  and  said  with  a  vehemence  he  had  not  used 
toward  me  before,  "Sir,  the  event  of  the  election  is  within 
your  own  power.  You  have  only  to  say  you  will  do  jus 
tice  to  the  public  creditors,  maintain  the  navy,  and  not  dis 
turb  those  holding  offices  and  the  Government  will  instantly 
be  put  into  your  hands.  We  know  it  is  the  wish  of  the  peo 
ple  it  should  be  so."  "Mr.  Adams,"  said  I,  "I  know  not 
what  part  of  my  conduct,  in  either  public  or  private  life,  can 
have  authorized  a  doubt  of  my  fidelity  to  the  public  engage 
ments.  I  say,  however,  I  will  not  come  into  the  Government 
by  capitulation.  I  will  not  enter  on  it,  but  in  perfect  free- 



dom  to  follow  the  dictates  of  my  own  judgment."  I  had 
before  given  the  same  answer  to  the  same  intimation  from 
Gouverneur  Morris.  "Then/'  said  he,  "things  must  take 
their  course."  I  turned  the  conversation  to  something  else, 
and  soon  took  my  leave.  It  was  the  first  time  in  our  lives 
we  had  ever  parted  with  anything  like  dissatisfaction.  And 
then  followed  those  scenes  of  midnight  appointment,  which 
have  been  condemned  by  all  men.  The  last  day  of  his  po 
litical  power,  the  last  hours,  and  even  beyond  the  midnight, 
were  employed  in  filling  all  offices,  and  especially  permanent 
ones,  with  the  bitterest  federalists,  and  providing  for  me  the 
alternative,  either  to  execute  the  Government  by  my  enemies, 
whose  study  it  would  be  to  thwart  and  defeat  all  my  meas 
ures,  or  to  incur  the  odium  of  such  numerous  removals  from 
office,  as  might  bear  me  down.  A  little  time  and  reflection 
effaced  in  my  mind  this  temporary  dissatisfaction  with  Mr. 
Adams,  and  restored  me  to  that  just  estimate  of  his  virtues 
and  passions,  which  a  long  acquaintance  had  enabled  me  to 
fix.  And  my  first  wish  became  that  of  making  his  retire 
ment  easy  by  any  means  in  my  power,  for  it  was  understood 
he  was  not  rich.  I  suggested  to  some  republican  members 
of  the  delegation  from  his  State,  the  giving  him,  either 
directly  or  indirectly,  an  office,  the  most  lucrative  in  that 
State,  and  then  offered  to  be  resigned,  if  they  thought  he 
would  not  deem  it  affrontive.  They  were  of  opinion  he 
would  take  great  offence  at  the  offer;  and  moreover,  that  the 
body  of  Republicans  would  consider  such  a  step  in  the  out 
set  as  auguring  very  ill  of  the  course  I  meant  to  pursue.  I 
dropped  the  idea,  therefore,  but  did  not  cease  to  wish  for 
some  opportunity  of  renewing  our  friendly  understanding. 
Two  or  three  years  after,  having  had  the  misfortune  to 
lose  a  daughter,  between  whom  and  Mrs.  Adams  there  had 
been  a  considerable  attachment,  she  made  it  the  occasion  of 
writing  me  a  letter,  in  which,  with  the  tenderest  expressions 



of  concern  at  this  event,  she  carefully  avoided  a  single  one 
of  friendship  toward  myself,  and  even  concluded  it  with 
the  wishes  "of  her  who  once  took  pleasure  in  subscribing 
herself  your  friend,  Abigail  Adams."  Unpromising  as  was 
the  complexion  of  this  letter,  I  determined  to  make  an  effort 
toward  removing  the  cloud  from  between  us.  This  brought 
on  a  correspondence  which  I  now  enclose  for  your  perusal, 
after  which  be  so  good  as  to  return  it  to  me,  as  I  have 
never  communicated  it  to  any  mortal  breathing,  before.  I 
send  it  to  you,  to  convince  you  I  have  not  been  wanting 
either  in  the  desire,  or  the  endeavor  to  remove  this  misunder 
standing.  Indeed,  I  thought  it  highly  disgraceful  to  us 
both,  as  indicating  minds  not  sufficiently  elevated  to  prevent 
a  public  competition  from  affecting  our  personal  friendship. 
I  soon  found  from  the  correspondence  that  conciliation  was 
desperate,  and  yielding  to  an  intimation  in  her  last  letter,  I 
ceased  from  further  explanation.  I  have  the  same  good 
opinion  of  Mr.  Adams  which  I  ever  had.  I  know  him  to 
be  an  honest  man,  an  able  one  with  his  pen,  and  he  was 
a  powerful  advocate  on  the  floor  of  Congress.  He  has  been 
alienated  from  me,  by  belief  in  the  lying  suggestions, 
contrived  for  electioneering  purposes,  that  I  perhaps  mixed 
in  the  activity  and  intrigues  of  the  occasion.  My  most 
intimate  friends  can  testify  that  I  was  perfectly  passive. 
They  would  sometimes,  indeed,  tell  me  what  was  going 
on ;  but  no  man  ever  heard  me  take  part  in  such  conversa 
tions  ;  and  none  ever  misrepresented  Mr.  Adams  in  my  pres 
ence,  without  my  asserting  his  just  character.  With  very 
confidential  persons  I  have  doubtless  disapproved  of  the 
principles  and  practices  of  his  administration.  This  was 
unavoidable.  But  never  with  those  with  whom  it  could  do 
him  any  injury.  Decency  would  have  required  this  conduct 
from  me,  if  disposition  had  not;  and  I  am  satisfied  Mr. 
Adams's  conduct  was  equally  honorable  toward  me.  But 



I  think  it  part  of  his  character  to  suspect  foul  play  in 
those  of  whom  he  is  jealous,  and  not  easily  to  relinquish 
his  suspicions. 

I  have  gone.,  my  dear  friend,  into  these  details,  that  you 
might  know  everything  which  had  passed  between  us,  might 
be  fully  possessed  of  the  state  of  facts  and  dispositions, 
and  judge  for  yourself  whether  they  admit  a  revival  of  that 
friendly  intercourse  for  which  you  are  so  kindly  solicitous. 
I  shall  certainly  not  be  wanting  in  anything  on  my  part 
which  may  second  your  efforts,  which  will  be  the  easier  with 
me,  inasmuch  as  I  do  not  entertain  a  sentiment  of  Mr. 
Adams,  the  expression  of  which  could  give  him  reasonable 
offence.  And  I  submit  the  whole  to  yourself,  with  the 
assurance  that  whatever  be  the  issue,  my  friendship  and 
respect  for  yourself  will  remain  unaltered  and  unalterable. 


To  Dr.  Benjamin  Rush 

POPLAR  FOREST,  August  17,  1811. 

Dear  Sir:  I  write  to  you  from  a  place  ninety  miles  from 
Monticello,  near  the  New  London  of  this  State,  which  I 
visit  three  or  four  times  a  year,  and  stay  from  a  fortnight 
to  a  month  at  a  time.  I  have  fixed  myself  comfortably, 
keep  some  books  here,  bring  others  occasionally,  am  in  the 
solitude  of  a  hermit,  and  quite  at  leisure  to  attend  to  my 
absent  friends.  I  note  this  to  show  that  I  am  not  in  a 
situation  to  examine  the  dates  of  our  letters,  whether  I 
have  overgone  the  annual  period  of  asking  how  you  do? 
I  know  that  within  that  time  I  have  received  one  or  more 
letters  from  you,  accompanied  by  a  volume  of  your  intro 
ductory  lectures,  for  which  accept  my  thanks.  I  have  read 



them  with  pleasure  and  edification,  for  I  acknowledge 
facts  in  medicine  as  far  as  they  go,  distrusting  only  their 
extension  by  theory.  Having  to  conduct  my  grandson 
through  his  course  of  mathematics,  I  have  resumed  that 
study  with  great  avidity.  It  was  ever  my  favorite  one.  We 
have  no  theories  there,  no  uncertainties  remain  on  the  mind ; 
all  is  demonstration  and  satisfaction.  I  have  forgotten 
much,  and  recover  it  with  more  difficulty  than  when  in  the 
vigor  of  my  mind  I  originally  acquired  it.  It  is  wonderful 
to  me  that  old  men  should  not  be  sensible  that  their  minds 
keep  pace  with  their  bodies  in  the  progress  of  decay.  Our 
old  Revolutionary  friend  Clinton,  for  example,  who  was  a 
hero,  but  never  a  man  of  mind,  is  wonderfully  jealous  on 
this  head.  He  tells  eternally  the  stories  of  his  younger  days 
to  prove  his  memory,  as  if  memory  and  reason  were  the 
same  faculty.  Nothing  betrays  imbecility  so  much  as  the 
being  insensible  of  it.  Had  not  a  conviction  of  the  danger 
to  which  an  unlimited  occupation  of  the  executive  chair 
would  expose  the  republican  Constitution  of  our  Govern 
ment,  made  it  conscientiously  a  duty  to  retire  when  I  did, 
the  fear  of  becoming  a  dotard  and  of  being  insensible  of  it, 
would  of  itself  have  resisted  all  solicitations  to  remain.  I 
have  had  a  long  attack  of  rheumatism,  without  fever  and 
without  pain  while  I  keep  myself  still.  A  total  prostra 
tion  of  the  muscles  of  the  back,  hips,  and  thighs,  deprived 
me  of  the  power  of  walking,  and  leaves  it  still  in  a  very 
impaired  state.  A  pain  when  I  walk,  seems  to  have  fixed 
itself  in  the  hip,  and  to  threaten  permanence.  I  take  mod 
erate  rides,  without  much  fatigue;  but  my  journey  to  this 
place,  in  a  hard-going  gig,  gave  me  great  sufferings  which 
I  expect  will  be  renewed  on  my  return  as  soon  as  I  am 
able.  The  loss  of  the  power  of  taking  exercise  would  be 
a  sore  affliction  to  me.  It  has  been  the  delight  of  my  re 
tirement  to  be  in  constant  bodily  activity  looking  after  my 



affairs.  It  was  never  damped,  as  the  pleasures  of  reading 
are,  by  the  question  of  cui  bono?  for  what  object?  I  hope 
your  health  of  body  continues  firm.  Your  works  show  that 
of  your  mind.  The  habits  of  exercise  which  your  calling 
has  given  to  both,  will  tend  long  to  preserve  them.  The 
sedentary  character  of  my  public  occupations  sapped  a  con 
stitution  naturally  sound  and  vigorous,  and  draws  it  to  an 
earlier  close.  But  it  will  still  last  quite  as  long  as  I  wish 
it.  There  is  a  fulness  of  time  when  men  should  go,  and 
not  occupy  too  long  the  ground  to  which  others  have  a 
right  to  advance.  We  must  continue  while  here  to  ex 
change  occasionally  our  mutual  good  wishes.  I  find  friend 
ship  to  be  like  wine,  raw  when  new,  ripened  with  age,  the 
true  old  man's  milk  and  restorative  cordial.  God  bless  you 
and  preserve  you  through  a  long  and  healthy  old  age. 

Federalists  and  Republicans 

To  John  Melish 

MONTICELLO,  January   13,   1812. 

The  candor  with  which  you  have  viewed  the  manners 
and  condition  of  our  citizens,  is  so  unlike  the  narrow  preju 
dices  of  the  French  and  English  travellers  preceding  you, 
who,  considering  each  the  manners  and  habits  of  their  own 
people  as  the  only  orthodox,  have  viewed  everything  differ 
ing  from  that  test  as  boorish  and  barbarous,  that  your  work 
will  be  read  here  extensively,  and  operate  great  good. 

Amid  this  mass  of  approbation  which  is  given  to  every 
other  part  of  the  work,  there  is  a  single  sentiment  which 
I  cannot  help  wishing  to  bring  to  what  I  think  the  correct 
one;  and,  on  a  point  so  interesting,  I  value  your  opinion 
too  highly  not  to  ambition  its  concurrence  with  my  own. 



Stating  in  volume  one,  page  sixty-three,  the  principle  of 
difference  between  the  two  great  political  parties  here,  you 
conclude  it  to  be,  "whether  the  controlling  power  shall  be 
vested  in  this  or  that  set  of  men."  That  each  party  en 
deavors  to  get  into  the  administration  of  the  Government, 
and  exclude  the  other  from  power,  is  true,  and  may  be 
stated  as  a  motive  of  action ;  but  this  is  only  secondary,  the 
primary  motive  being  a  real  and  radical  difference  of 
political  principle.  I  sincerely  wish  our  differences  were 
but  personally  who  should  govern,  and  that  the  principles 
of  our  Constitution  were  those  of  both  parties.  Unfortu 
nately,  it  is  otherwise ;  and  the  question  of  preference 
between  monarchy  and  republicanism,  which  has  so  long 
divided  mankind  elsewhere,  threatens  a  permanent  division 

Among  that  section  of  our  citizens  called  federalists, 
there  are  three  shades  of  opinion.  Distinguishing  between 
the  leaders  and  people  who  compose  it,  the  leaders  consider 
the  English  constitution  as  a  model  of  perfection,  some, 
with  a  correction  of  its  vices,  others,  with  all  its  corruptions 
and  abuses.  This  last  was  Alexander  Hamilton's  opinion, 
which  others,  as  well  as  myself,  have  often  heard  him  de 
clare,  and  that  a  correction  of  what  are  called  its  vices, 
would  render  the  English  an  impracticable  Government. 
This  Government  they  wished  to  have  established  here,  and 
only  accepted  and  held  fast,  at  first,  to  the  present  Con 
stitution,  as  a  stepping-stone  to  the  final  establishment  of 
their  favorite  model.  This  party  has  therefore  always 
clung  to  England  as  their  prototype  and  great  auxiliary 
in  promoting  and  effecting  this  change.  A  weighty  MI 
NORITY,  however,  of  these  leaders,  considering  the  vol 
untary  conversion  of  our  Government  into  a  monarchy  as 
too  distant,  if  not  desperate,  wish  to  break  off  from  our 
Union  its  Eastern  fragment,  as  being,  in  truth,  the  hot-bed 



of  American  monnrchism,  with  a  view  to  a  commencement 
of  their  favorite  Government,  from  whence  the  other  States 
may  gangrene  by  degrees,  and  the  whole  be  thus  brought 
finally  to  the  desired  point.  For  Massachusetts,  the  prime 
mover  in  this  enterprise,  is  the  last  State  in  the  Union 
to  mean  a  final  separation,  as  being  of  all  the  most  de 
pendent  on  the  others.  Not  raising  bread  for  the  suste 
nance  of  her  own  inhabitants,  not  having  a  stick  of  timber 
for  the  construction  of  vessels,  her  principal  occupation,  nor 
an  article  to  export  in  them,  where  would  she  be,  excluded 
from  the  ports  of  the  other  States,  and  thrown  into  de 
pendence  on  England,  her  direct,  and  natural,  but  now  in 
sidious  rival?  At  the  head  of  this  MINORITY  is  what  is 
called  the  Essex  Junto  of  Massachusetts.  But  the  MAJOR 
ITY  of  these  leaders  do  not  aim  at  separation.  In  this,  they 
adhere  to  the  known  principle  of  General  Hamilton,  never, 
under  any  views,  to  break  the  Union.  Anglomany,  mon 
archy,  and  separation,  then,  are  the  principles  of  the  Essex 
federalists ;  Anglomany  and  monarchy,  those  of  the  Hamil- 
tonians,  and  Anglomany  alone,  that  of  the  portion  among 
the  people  who  call  themselves  federalists.  These  last  are 
as  good  Republicans  as  the  brethren  whom  they  oppose, 
and  differ  from  them  only  in  their  devotion  to  England  and 
hatred  of  France,  which  they  have  imbibed  from  their 
leaders.  The  moment  that  these  leaders  should  avowedly 
propose  a  separation  of  the  Union,  or  the  establishment 
of  regal  government,  their  popular  adherents  would  quit 
them  to  a  man,  and  join  the  republican  standard;  and  the 
partisans  of  this  change,  even  in  Massachusetts,  would  thus 
find  themselves  an  army  of  officers  without  a  soldier. 

The  party  called  Republican  is  steadily  for  the  support 
of  the  present  Constitution.  They  obtained  at  its  com 
mencement  all  the  amendments  to  it  they  desired.  These 
reconciled  them  to  it  perfectly,  and  if  they  have  any  ulterior 



view,  it  is  only,  perhaps,  to  popularize  it  further  by  short 
ening  the  senatorial  term  and  devising  a  process  for  the 
responsibility  of  judges,  more  practicable  than  that  of 
impeachment.  They  esteem  the  people  of  England  and. 
France  equally,  and  equally  detest  the  governing  powers  of 

This  I  verily  believe,  after  an  intimacy  of  forty  years 
with  the  public  councils  and  characters,  is  a  true  statement 
of  the  grounds  on  which  they  are  at  present  divided,  and 
that  it  is  not  merely  an  ambition  for  power.  An  honest 
man  can  feel  no  pleasure  in  the  exercise  of  power  over 
his  fellow-citizens.  And  considering  as  the  only  offices  of 
power  those  conferred  by  the  people  directly,  that  is  to 
say,  the  executive  and  legislative  functions  of  the  General 
and  State  Governments,  the  common  refusal  of  these,  and 
multiplied  resignations,  are  proofs  sufficient  that  power  is 
not  alluring  to  pure  minds,  and  is  not,  with  them,  the  pri 
mary  principle  of  contest.  This  is  my  belief  of  it;  it  is 
that  on  which  I  have  acted;  and  had  it  been  a  mere  con 
test  who  should  be  permitted  to  administer  the  Government 
according  to  its  genuine  republican  principles,  there  has 
never  been  a  moment  of  my  life  in  which  I  should  have 
relinquished  for  it  the  enjoyments  of  my  family,  my  farm, 
my  friends,  and  books. 

You  expected  to  discover  the  difference  of  our  party  prin 
ciples  in  General  Washington's  valedictory,  and  my  in 
augural  address.  Not  at  all.  General  Washington  did  not 
harbor  one  principle  of  federalism.  He  was  neither  an 
Angloman,  a  monarchist,  nor  a  separatist.  He  sincerely 
wished  the  people  to  have  as  much  self-government  as  they 
were  competent  to  exercise  themselves.  The  only  point  on 
which  he  and  I  ever  differed  in  opinion,  was,  that  I  had 
more  confidence  than  he  had  in  the  natural  integrity  and 
discretion  of  the  people,  and  in  the  safety  and  extent  to 



which  they  might  trust  themselves  with  a  control  over  their 
Government.  He  has  asseverated  to  me  a  thousand  times 
his  determination  that  the  existing  Government  should  have 
a  fair  trial,  and  that  in  support  of  it  he  would  spend 
the  last  drop  of  his  blood.  He  did  this  the  more  repeatedly, 
because  he  knew  General  Hamilton's  political  bias,  and  my 
apprehensions  from  it.  It  is  a  mere  calumny,  therefore, 
in  the  monarchists,  to  associate  General  Washington  with 
their  principles.  But  that  may  have  happened  in  this  case 
which  has  been  often  seen  in  ordinary  cases,  that,  by  oft 
repeating  an  untruth,  men  come  to  believe  it  themselves. 
It  is  a  mere  artifice  in  this  party  to  bolster  themselves  up 
on  the  revered  name  of  that  first  of  our  worthies.  If  I 
have  dwelt  longer  on  this  subject  than  was  necessary,  it 
proves  the  estimation  in  which  I  hold  your  ultimate  opin 
ions,  and  my  desire  of  placing  the  subject  tridy  before 
them.  In  so  doing,  I  am  certain  I  risk  no  use  of  the  com 
munication  which  may  draw  me  into  contention  before 
the  public.  Tranquillity  is  the  summum  bonum  of  a 

On  Reconciliation 

MONTICELLO,  January  21,   1812. 

A  letter  from  you  calls  up  recollections  very  dear 
to  my  mind.  It  carries  me  back  to  the  times  when,  be 
set  with  difficulties  and  dangers,  we  were  fellow-laborers 
in  the  same  cause,  struggling  for  what  is  most  valuable  to 
man,  his  right  of  self-government.  Laboring  always  at 
the  same  oar,  with  some  wave  ever  a  head,  threatening  to 
overwhelm  us,  and  yet  passing  harmless  under  our  bark, 



we  knew  not  how  we  rode  through  the  storm  with  heart 
and  hand,  and  made  a  happy  port.  Still,  we  did  not  ex 
pect  to  be  without  rubs  and  difficulties ;  and  we  have  had 
them.  First,  the  detention  of  the  western  posts,  then  the 
coalition  of  Pilnitz,  outlawing  our  commerce  with  France, 
and  the  British  enforcement  of  the  outlawry.  In  your  day, 
French  depredations ;  in  mine,  English,  and  the  Berlin  and 
Milan  decrees;  now,  the  English  orders  of  council,  and  the 
piracies  they  authorize.  When  these  shall  be  over,  it  will  be 
the  impressment  of  our  seamen  or  something  else;  and  so  we 
have  gone  on,  and  so  we  shall  go  on,  puzzled  and  prospering 
beyond  example  in  the  history  of  man.  And  I  do  believe  we 
shall  continue  to  grow,  to  multiply  and  prosper  until  we  ex 
hibit  an  association,  powerful,  wise,  and  happy,  beyond 
what  has  yet  been  seen  by  men.  As  for  France  and  Eng 
land,  with  all  their  preeminence  in  science,  the  one  is  a  den 
of  robbers,  and  the  other  of  pirates.  And  if  science  pro 
duces  no  better  fruits  than  tyranny,  murder,  rapine  and 
destitution  of  national  morality,  I  would  rather  wish  our 
country  to  be  ignorant,  honest,  and  estimable,  as  our  neigh 
boring  savages  are.  But  whither  is  senile  garrulity  leading 
me?  Into  politics,  of  which  I  have  taken  final  leave.  I 
think  little  of  them  and  say  less.  I  have  given  up  news 
papers  in  exchange  for  Tacitus  and  Thucydides,  for  Newton 
and  Euclid,  and  I  find  myself  much  the  happier.  Some 
times,  indeed,  I  look  back  to  former  occurrences,  in  remem 
brance  of  our  old  friends  and  fellow-laborers,  who  have 
fallen  before  us.  Of  the  signers  of  the  Declaration  of  In 
dependence,  I  see  now  living  not  more  than  half  a  dozen  on 
your  side  of  the  Potomac,  and  on  this  side,  myself  alone. 
You  and  I  have  been  wonderfully  spared,  and  myself  with 
remarkable  health,  and  a  considerable  activity  of  body  and 
mind.  I  am  on  horseback  three  or  four  hours  of  every  day; 
visit  three  or  four  times  a  year  a  possession  I  have  ninety 



miles  distant,  performing  the  winter  journey  on  horseback. 
I  walk  little,  however,  a  single  mile  being  too  much  for  me, 
and  I  live  in  the  midst  of  my  grandchildren,  one  of  whom 
has  lately  promoted  me  to  be  a  great-grandfather.  I  have 
heard  with  pleasure  that  you  also  retain  good  health,  and 
a  greater  power  of  exercise  in  walking  than  I  do.  But  I 
would  rather  have  heard  this  from  yourself,  and  that,  writ 
ing  a  letter  like  mine,  full  of  egotisms,  and  of  details  of 
your  health,  your  habits,  occupations,  and  enjoyments,  I 
should  have  the  pleasure  of  knowing  that  in  the  race  of 
life,  you  do  not  keep,  in  its  physical  decline,  the  same 
distance  ahead  of  me  which  you  have  done  in  political 
honors  and  achievements.  No  circumstances  have  lessened 
the  interest  I  feel  in  these  particulars  respecting  yourself; 
none  have  suspended  for  one  moment  my  sincere  esteem  for 
you,  and  I  now  salute  you  with  unchanged  affection  and 

On  Foreign  Affairs 

To  James  Maury 

MONTICELLO,  April  25,  1812. 

My  dear  and  ancient  Friend  and  Classmate :  Often 
has  my  heart  smote  me  for  delaying  acknowledgments  to 
you,  receiving, 'as  I  do,  such  frequent  proofs  of  your  kind 
recollection  in  the  transmission  of  papers  to  me.  But  in 
stead  of  acting  on  the  good  old  maxim  of  not  putting  off 
to  to-morrow  what  we  can  do  to-day,  we  are  too  apt  to 
reverse  it,  and  not  to  do  to-day  what  we  can  put  off  to  to 
morrow.  But  this  duty  can  be  no  longer  put  off.  To-day 
we  are  at  peace;  to-morrow,  war.  The  curtain  of  separa 
tion  is  drawing  between  us,  and  probably  will  not  be  with- 



drawn  till  one,  if  not  both  of  us,  will  be  at  rest  with  our 
fathers.  Let  me  now,  then,  while  I  may,  renew  to  you  the 
declarations  of  my  warm  attachment,  which  in  no  period 
of  life  has  ever  been  weakened,  and  seems  to  become 
stronger  as  the  remaining  objects  of  our  youthful  affections 
are  fewer. 

Our  two  countries  are  to  be  at  war,  but  not  you  and 
I.  And  why  should  our  two  countries  be  at  war,  when  by 
peace  we  can  be  so  much  more  useful  to  one  another? 
Surely  the  world  will  acquit  our  Government  from  having 
sought  it.  Never  before  has  there  been  an  instance  of  a 
nation's  bearing  so  much  as  we  have  borne.  Two  items 
alone  in  our  catalogue  of  wrongs  will  forever  acquit  us  of 
being  the  aggressors:  the  impressment  of  our  seamen,  and 
the  excluding  us  from  the  ocean.  The  first  foundations  of 
the  social  compact  would  be  broken  up,  were  we  definitively 
to  refuse  to  its  members  the  protection  of  their  persons  and 
property,  while  in  their  lawful  pursuits.  I  think  the  war 
will  not  be  short,  because  the  object  of  England,  long 
obvious,  is  to  claim  the  ocean  as  her  domain,  and  to  exact 
transit  duties  from  every  vessel  traversing  it.  This  is  the 
sum  of  her  orders  of  council,  which  were  only  a  step  in  this 
bold  experiment,  never  meant  to  be  retracted  if  it  could  be 
permanently  maintained.  And  this  object  must  continue 
her  in  war  with  all  the  world.  To  this  I  see  no  termina 
tion,  until  her  exaggerated  efforts,  so  much  beyond  her 
natural  strength  and  resources,  shall  have  exhausted  her  to 
bankruptcy.  The  approach  of  this  crisis  is,  I  think,  visible 
in  the  departure  of  her  precious  metals,  and  depreciation 
of  her  paper  medium.  We,  who  have  gone  through  that 
operation,  know  its  symptoms,  its  course,  and  consequences. 
In  England  they  will  be  more  serious  than  elsewhere,  be 
cause  half  the  wealth  of  her  people  is  now  in  that  medium, 
the  private  revenue  of  her  money-holders,  or  rather  of  her 



paper-holders,  being,  I  believe,  greater  than  that  of  her 
land-holders.  Such  a  proportion  of  property,  imaginary 
and  baseless  as  it  is,  cannot  be  reduced  to  vapor  but  with 
great  explosion.  She  will  rise  out  of  its  ruins,  however, 
because  her  lands,  her  houses,  her  arts  will  remain,  and  the 
greater  part  of  her  men.  And  these  will  give  her  again 
that  place  among  nations  which  is  proportioned  to  her  nat 
ural  means,  and  which  we  all' wish  her  to  hold.  We  believe 
that  the  just  standing  of  all  nations  is  the  health  and 
security  of  all.  We  consider  the.  overwhelming  power  of 
England  on  the  ocean,  and  of  France  on  the  land,  as  de 
structive  of  the  prosperity  and  happiness  of  the  world,  and 
wish  both  to  be  reduced  only  to  the  necessity  of  observing 
moral  duties.  We  believe  no  more  in  Bonaparte's  fighting 
merely  for  the  liberty  of  the  seas,  than  in  Great  Britain's 
fighting  for  the  liberties  of  mankind.  The  object  of  both 
is  the  same,  to  draw  to  themselves  the  power,  the  wealth, 
and  the  resources  of  other  nations.  WTe  resist  the  enter 
prises  of  England  first,  because  they  first  come  vitally  home 
to  us.  And  our  feelings  repel  the  logic  of  bearing  the  lash 
of  George  the  III.  for  fear  of  that  of  Bonaparte  at  some 
:  future  day.  When  the  wrongs  of  France  shall  reach  us 
with  equal  effect,  we  shall  resist  them  also.  But  one  at 
!  a  time  is  enough ;  and  having  offered  a  choice  to  the  cham 
pions,  England  first  takes  up  the  gauntlet. 

The  English  newspapers  suppose  me  the  personal  enemy 
of  their  nation.  I  am  not  so.  I  am  an  enemy  to  its 
injuries,  as  I  am  to  those  of  France.  If  I  could  permit 
myself  to  have  national  partialities,  and  if  the  conduct  of 
England  would  have  permitted  them  to  be  directed  to 
ward  her,  they  would  have  been  so.  I  thought  that  in  the 
administration  of  Mr.  Addington,  I  discovered  some  dis 
positions  toward  justice,  and  even  friendship  and  respect 
for  us,  and  began  to  pave  the  way  for  cherishing  these 



dispositions,  and  improving  them  into  ties  of  mutual  good 
will.  But  we  had  then  a  federal  minister  there,  whose 
dispositions  to  believe  himself,  and  to  inspire  others  with  a 
belief,  in  our  sincerity,  his  subsequent  conduct  has  brought 
into  doubt;  and  poor  Merry,  the  English  minister  here,  had 
learned  nothing  of  diplomacy  but  its  suspicions,  without 
head  enough  to  distinguish  when  they  were  misplaced.  Mr. 
Addington  and  Mr.  Fox  passed  away  too  soon  to  avail  the 
two  countries  of  their  dispositions.  Had  I  been  personally 
hostile  to  England,  and  biassed  in  favor  of  either  the  char 
acter  or  views  of  her  great  antagonist,  the  affair  of  the 
Chesapeake  put  war  into  my  hand.  I  had  only  to  open  it 
and  let  havoc  loose.  But  if  ever  I  was  gratified  with  the 
possession  of  power,  and  of  the  confidence  of  those  who 
had  intrusted  me  with  it,  it  was  on  that  occasion  when 
I  was  enabled  to  use  both  for  the  prevention  of  war,  tow 
ard  which  the  torrent  of  passion  here  was  directed  almost 
irresistibly,  and  when  not  another  person  in  the  United 
States,  less  supported  by  authority  and  favor,  could  have 
resisted  it.  And  now  that  a  definitive  adherence  to  her 
impressments  and  orders  of  council  renders  war  no  longer 
avoidable,  my  earnest  prayer  is  that  our  Government  may 
enter  into  no  compact  of  common  cause  with  the  other  bel 
ligerents,  but  keep  us  free  to  make  a  separate  peace,  when 
ever  England  will  separately  give  us  peace  and  future 
security.  But  Lord  Liverpool  is  our  witness  that  this  can 
never  be  but  by  her  removal  from  our  neighborhood. 

I  have  thus,  for  a  moment,  taken  a  range  into  the  field 
of  politics,  to  possess  you  with  the  view  we  take  of  things 
here.  But  in  the  scenes  which  are  to  ensue  I  am  to  be 
but  a  spectator.  I  have  withdrawn  myself  from  all  politi 
cal  intermeddlings,  to  indulge  the  evening  of  my  life  with 
what  have  been  the  passions  of  every  portion  of  it,  books, 
science,  my  farms,  my  family  and  friends.  To  these  every 



hour  of  the  day  is  now  devoted.  I  retain  a  good  activity 
of  mind,  not  quite  as  much  of  body,  but  uninterrupted 
health.  Still  the  hand  of  age  is  upon  me.  All  my  old 
friends  are  nearly  gone.  Of  those  in  my  neighborhood, 
Mr.  Divers  and  Mr.  Lindsay  alone  remain.  If  you  could 
make  it  a  partie  quarree,  it  would  be  a  comfort  indeed.  We 
would  beguile  our  lingering  hours  with  talking  over  our 
youthful  exploits,  our  hunts  on  Peter's  mountain,  with  a 
long  train  of  et  cetera,  in  addition,  and  feel,  by  recollection, 
at  least,  a  momentary  flash  of  youth.  Reviewing  the  course 
of  a  long  and  sufficiently  successful  life,  I  find  in  no  por 
tion  of  it  happier  moments  than  those  were.  I  think  the 
old  hulk  in  which  you  are,  is  near  her  wreck,  and  that, 
like  a  prudent  rat,  you  should  escape  in  time.  However, 
here,  there,  and  everywhere,  in  peace  or  in  war,  you  will 
have  my  sincere  affections  and  prayers  for  your  life,  health, 
and  happiness. 

On  the  English  Common  Law  in  America 

To  Judge  John  Tyler 

MONTICELLO,  June  17,  1812. 

Dear  Sir:  On  the  other  subject  of  your  letter,  the  ap 
plication  of  the  common  law  to  our  present  situation,  I  de 
ride  with  you  the  ordinary  doctrine,  that  we  brought  with  us 
from  England  the  common  law  rights.  This  narrow  notion 
was  a  favorite  in  the  first  moment  of  rallying  to  our  rights 
against.  Great  Britain.  But  it  was  that  of  men  who  felt 
their  rights  before  they  had  thought  of  their  explanation. 
The  truth  is,  that  we  brought  with  us  the  rights  of  men 
— of  expatriated  men.  On  our  arrival  here,  the  question 
would  at  once  arise,  By  what  law  will  we  govern  ourselves  ? 



The  resolution  seems  to  have  been,  by  that  system,  with 
which  we  are  familiar,  to  be  altered  by  ourselves  occasion 
ally,  and  adapted  to  our  new  situation.  The  proofs  of  this 
resolution  are  to  be  found  in  the  form  of  the  oaths  of  the 
judges,  1.  Hening's  Stat.  169,  187;  of  the  Governor,  ib. 
504 ;  in  the  act  for  a  provisional  government,  ib.  372 ;  in  the 
preamble  to  the  laws  of  1661-62;  the  uniform  current  of 
opinions  and  decisions,  and  in  the  general  recognition  of 
all  our  statutes,  framed  on  that  basis.  But  the  state  of 
the  English  law  at  the  date  of  our  emigration,  constituted 
the  system  adopted  here.  We  may  doubt,  therefore,  the 
propriety  of  quoting  in  our  courts  English  authorities  sub 
sequent  to  that  adoption ;  still  more,  the  admission  of  au 
thorities  posterior  to  the  Declaration  of  Independence,  or 
rather  to  the  accession  of  that  King,  whose  reign,  ab  initio, 
was  the  very  tissue  of  wrongs  which  rendered  the  Declara 
tion  at  length  necessary.  The  reason  for  it  had  inception 
at  least  as  far  back  as  the  commencement  of  his  reign. 
This  relation  to  the  beginning  of  his  reign,  would  add  the 
advantage  of  getting  us  rid  of  all  Mansfield's  innovations, 
or  civilizations  of  the  common  law.  For  however  I  admit 
the  superiority  of  the  civil  over  the  common  law  code,  as  a 
system  of  perfect  justice,  yet  an  incorporation  of  the  two 
would  be  like  Nebuchadnezzar's  image  of  metals  and  clay, 
a  thing  without  cohesion  of  parts.  The  only  natural  im 
provement  of  the  common  law  is  through  its  homogeneous 
ally,  the  chancery,  in  which  new  principles  are  to  be  ex 
amined,  concocted,  and  digested.  But  when,  by  repeated 
decisions  and  modifications,  they  are  rendered  pure  and  cer 
tain,  they  should  be  transferred  by  statute  to  the  courts  of 
common  law,  and  placed  within  the  pale  of  juries.  The 
exclusion  from  the  courts  of  the  malign  influence  of  all 
authorities  after  the  Georgium  sidus  became  ascendant, 
would  uncanonize  Blackstone,  whose  book,  although  the 



most  elegant  and  best  digested  of  our  law  catalogue,  has 
been  perverted  more  than  all  others,  to  the  degeneracy  of 
legal  science.  A  student  finds  there  a  smattering  of  every 
thing,  and  his  indolence  easily  persuades  him  that  if  he 
understands  that  book,  he  is  master  of  the  whole  body  of 
the  law.  The  distinction  between  these,  and  those  who 
have  drawn  their  stores  from  the  deep  and  rich  mines  of 
Coke  and  Littleton,  seems  well  understood  even  by  the  un 
lettered  common  people,  who  apply  the  appellation  of 
Blackstone  lawyers  to  these  ephemeral  insects  of  the  law. 

Whether  we  should  undertake  to  reduce  the  common  law, 
our  own,  and  so  much  of  the  English  statutes  as  we  have 
adopted,  to  a  text,  is  a  question  of  transcendent  difficulty. 
It  was  discussed  at  the  first  meeting  of  the  committee  of 
the  revised  code,  in  1776,  and  decided  in  the  negative,  by 
the  opinions  of  Wythe,  Mason,  and  myself,  against  Pendle- 
ton  and  Thomas  Lee.  Pendleton  proposed  to  take  Black- 
stone  for  that  text,  only  purging  him  of  what  was  inap 
plicable  or  unsuitable  to  us.  In  that  case,  the  meaning  of 
every  word  of  Blackstone  would  have  become  a  source  of 
litigation,  until  it  had  been  settled  by  repeated  legal  de 
cisions.  And  to  come  at  that  meaning,  we  should  have  had 
produced,  on  all  occasions,  that  very  pile  of  authorities 
from  which  it  would  be  said  he  drew  his  conclusion,  and 
which,  of  course,  would  explain  it,  and  the  terms  in  which 
it  is  couched.  Thus  we  should  have  retained  the  same 
chaos  of  law-lore  from  which  we  wished  to  be  emancipated, 
added  to  the  evils  of  the  uncertainty  which  a  new  text  and 
new  phrases  would  have  generated.  An  example  of  this 
may  be  found  in  the  old  statutes,  and  commentaries  on 
them,  in  Coke's  second  institute,  but  more  remarkably  in 
the  institute  of  Justinian,  and  the  vast  masses  explanatory 
or  supplementary  of  that  which  fill  the  libraries  of  the 
civilians.  We  were  deterred  from  the  attempt  by  these 



considerations,  added  to  which,  the  bustle  of  the  times  did 
not  admit  leisure  for  such  an  undertaking. 

Your  request  of  my  opinion  on  this  subject  has  given 
you  the  trouble  of  these  observations.  If  your  firmer  mind 
in  encountering  difficulties  would  have  added  your  vote  to 
the  minority  of  the  committee,  you  would  have  had  on  your 
side  one  of  the  greatest  men  of  our  age,  and,  like  him, 
have  detracted  nothing  from  the  sentiments  of  esteem  and 
respect  which  I  bore  to  him,  and  tender  with  sincerity  the 
assurance  of  to  yourself. 

On  Practical  Politics 

MONTICELLO,  June  15,  1813. 

One  of  the  questions,  you  know,  on  which  our  parties 
took  different  sides,  was  on  the  improvability  of  the  human 
mind  in  science,  in  ethics,  in  government,  etc.  Those  who 
advocated  reformation  of  institutions,  pari  passu  with  the 
progress  of  science,  maintained  that  no  definite  limits 
could  be  assigned  to  that  progress.  The  enemies  of  re 
form,  on  the  other  hand,  denied  improvement,  and  advo 
cated  stead}7  adherence  to  the  principles,  practices,  and 
institutions  of  our  fathers,  which  they  represented  as  the 
consummation  of  wisdom,  and  acme  of  excellence,  beyond 
which  the  human  mind  could  never  advance.  Although  in 
the  passage  of  your  answer  alluded  to,  you  expressly  dis 
claim  the  wish  to  influence  the  freedom  of  inquiry,  you 
predict  that  that  will  produce  nothing  more  worthy  of 
transmission  to  posterity  than  the  principles,  institutions, 
and  systems  of  education  received  from  their  ancestors.  I 
do  not  consider  this  as  your  deliberate  opinion.  You  pos- 



sess,  yourself,  too  much  science,  not  to  see  how  much  is 
still  ahead  of  you,  unexplained  and  unexplored.  Your 
own  consciousness  must  place  you  as  far  before  our  an 
cestors  as  in  the  rear  of  our  posterity.  I  consider  it  as  an 
expression  lent  to  the  prejudices  of  your  friends;  and 
although  I  happened  to  cite  it  from  you,  the  whole  letter 
shows  I  had  them  only  in  view.  In  truth,  my  dear  sir,  we 
were  far  from  considering  you  as  the  author  of  all  the 
measures  we  blamed.  They  were  placed  under  the  protec 
tion  of  your  name,  but  we  were  satisfied  they  wanted  much 
of  your  approbation.  We  ascribed  them  to  their  real 
authors,  the  Pickerings,  the  Wolcotts,  the  Tracys,  the 
Sedgwicks,  et  id  genus  omne,  with  whom  we  supposed  you 
in  a  state  of  duresse.  I  well  remember  a  conversation  with 
you  in  the  morning  of  the  day  on  which  you  nominated  to 
the  Senate  a  substitute  for  Pickering,  in  which  you  ex 
pressed  a  just  impatience  under  "the  legacy  of  secretaries 
which  General  Washington  had  left  you,"  and  whom  you 
seemed,  therefore,  to  consider  as  under  public  protection. 
Many  other  incidents  showed  how  differently  you  would 
have  acted  with  less  impassioned  advisers;  and  subsequent 
events  have  proved  that  your  minds  were  not  together. 
You  would  do  me  great  injustice,  therefore,  by  taking  to 
yourself  what  was  intended  for  men  who  were  then  your 
secret,  as  they  are  now  your  open  enemies.  Should  you 
write  on  the  subject,  as  your  propose,  I  am  sure  we  shall 
see  you  place  yourself  farther  from  them  than  from  us. 


On  Finance — National  Debt — Paper  Money 

To  John  W.  Eppes 

MONTICELLO,  June  24,  1813. 

It  is  a  wise  rule,  and  should  be  fundamental  in  a  gov 
ernment  disposed  to  cherish  its  credit,  and  at  the  same 
time  to  restrain  the  use  of  it  within  the  limits  of  its  facul 
ties,  "never  to  borrow  a  dollar  without  laying  a  tax  in  the 
same  instant  for  paying  the  interest  annually,  and  the 
principal  within  a  given  term;  and  to  consider  that  tax 
as  pledged  to  the  creditors  on  the  public  faith."  On  such 
a  pledge  as  this,  sacredly  observed,  a  government  may  al 
ways  command,  on  a  reasonable  interest,  all  the  lendable 
money  of  their  citizens,  while  the  necessity  of  an  equivalent 
tax  is  a  salutary  warning  to  them  and  their  constituents 
against  oppressions,  bankruptcy,  and  its  inevitable  conse 
quence,  revolution.  But  the  term  of  redemption  must  be 
moderate,  and  at  any  rate  within  the  limits  of  their 
rightful  powers.  But  what  limits,  it  will  be  asked,  does 
this  prescribe  to  their  powers  ?  What  is  to  hinder  them 
from  creating  a  perpetual  debt?  The  laws  of  nature,  I 
answer.  The  earth  belongs  to  the  living,  not  to  the  dead. 
The  will  and  the  power  of  man  expire  with  his  life,  by 
nature's  law.  Some  societies  give  it  an  artificial  continu 
ance,  for  the  encouragement  of  industry;  some  refuse  it, 
as  our  aboriginal  neighbors,  whom  we  call  barbarians. 
The  generations  of  men  may  be  considered  as  bodies  or 
corporations.  Each  generation  has  the  usufruct  of  the 
earth  during  the  period  of  its  continuance.  When  it  ceases 
to  exist,  the  usufruct  passes  on  to  the  succeeding  genera 
tion,  free  and  unincumbered,  and  so  on,  successively,  from 
one  generation  to  another  forever.  We  may  consider  each 



generation  as  a  distinct  nation,  with  a  right,  by  the  will  of 
its  majority,  to  bind  themselves,  but  none  to  bind  the  suc 
ceeding  generation,  more  than  the  inhabitants  of  another 
country.  Or  the  case  may  be  likened  to  the  ordinary  one 
of  a  tenant  for  life,  who  may  hypothecate  the  land  for 
his  debts,  during  the  continuance  of  his  usufruct;  but  at  his 
death,  the  reversioner  (who  is  also  for  life  only)  receives 
it  exonerated  from  all  burthen.  The  period  of  a  generation, 
or  the  term  of  its  life,  is  determined  by  the  laws  of  mor 
tality  which,  varying  a  little  only  in  different  climates, 
offer  a  general  average,  to  be  found  by  observation.  I 
turn,  for  instance,  to  Buffon's  tables,  of  twenty-three 
thousand  nine  hundred  and  ninety-four  deaths,  and  the 
ages  at  which  they  happened,  and  I  find  that  of  the  num 
bers  of  all  ages  living  at  one  moment,  half  will  be  dead 
in  twenty-four  years  and  eight  months.  But  (leaving  out 
minors,  who  have  not  the  power  of  self-government)  of 
the  adults  (of  twenty-one  years  of  age)  living  at  one  mo 
ment,  a  majority  of  whom  act  for  the  society,  one-half 
will  be  dead  in  eighteen  years  and  eight  months.  At  nine 
teen  years,  then,  from  the  date  of  a  contract,  the  majority 
of  the  contractors  are  dead,  and  their  contract  with  them. 
Let  this  general  theory  be  applied  to  a  particular  case. 
Suppose  the  annual  births  of  the  State  of  New  York  to 
be  twenty-three  thousand  nine  hundred  and  ninety-four, 
the  whole  number  of  its  inhabitants,  according  to  Buffon, 
Avill  be  six  hundred  and  seventeen  thousand  seven  hundred 
and  three,  of  all  ages.  Of  these  there  would  constantly 
be  two  hundred  and  sixty-nine  thousand  two  hundred  and 
eighty-six  minors,  and  three  hundred  and  forty-eight 
thousand  four  hundred  and  seventeen  adults,  of  which  last, 
one  hundred  and  seventy-four  thousand  two  hundred  and 
nine  will  be  a  majority.  Suppose  that  majority,  on  the 
first  day  of  the  year  1794,  had  borrowed  a  sum  of  money 



equal  to  the  fee-simple  value  of  the  State,  and  to  have 
consumed  it  in  eating,  drinking,  and  making  merry  in  their 
day;  or,  if  you  please,  in  quarrelling  and  fighting  with 
their  unoffending  neighbors.  Within  eighteen  years  and 
eight  months,  one-half  of  the  adult  citizens  were  dead.  Till 
then,  being  the  majority,  they  might  rightfully  levy  the  in 
terest  of  their  debt  annually  on  themselves  and  their  fellow- 
revellers  or  fellow-champions.  But  at  that  period,  say  at 
this  moment,  a  new  majority  have  come  into  place,  in  their 
own  right,  and  not  under  the  rights,  the  conditions,  or  laws 
of  their  predecessors.  Are  they  bound  to  acknowledge  the 
debt,  to  consider  the  preceding  generation  as  having  had 
a  right  to  eat  up  the  whole  soil  of  their  country,  in  the 
course  of  a  life,  to  alienate  it  from  them,  (for  it  would 
be  an  alienation  to  the  creditors),  and  would  they  think 
themselves  either  legally  or  morally  bound  to  give  up  their 
country  and  emigrate  to  another  for  subsistence?  Every 
one  will  say  no;  that  the  soil  is  the  gift  of  God  to  the 
living,  as  much  as  it  had  been  to  the  deceased  generation; 
and  that  the  laws  of  nature  impose  no  obligation  on  them 
to  pay  this  debt.  And  although,  like  some  other  natural 
rights,  this  has  not  yet  entered  into  any  declaration  of 
rights,  it  is  no  less  a  law,  and  ought  to  be  acted  on  by 
honest  governments.  It  is,  at  the  same  time,  a  salutary 
curb  on  the  spirit  of  war  and  indebtment,  which,  since 
the  modern  theory  of  the  perpetuation  of  debt,  has 
drenched  the  earth  with  blood,  and  crushed  its  inhabitants 
under  burdens  ever  accumulating.  Had  this  principle  been 
declared  in  the  British  bill  of  rights,  England  would  have 
been  placed  under  the  happy  disability  of  waging  eternal 
war,  and  of  contracting  her  thousand  millions  of  public 
debt.  In  seeking,  then,  for  an  ultimate  term  for  the  re 
demption  of  our  debts,  let  us  rally  to  this  principle,  and 
provide  for  their  payment  within  the  term  of  nineteen 



years  at  the  farthest.  Our  Government  has  not,  as  yet, 
begun  to  act  on  the  rule  of  loans  and  taxation  going  hand 
in  hand.  Had  any  loan  taken  place  in  my  time,  I  should 
have  strongly  urged  a  redeeming  tax.  For  the  loan  which 
has  been  made  since  the  last  session  of  Congress,  we 
should  now  set  the  example  of  appropriating  some  particu 
lar  tax,  sufficient  to  pay  the  interest  annually,  and  the 
principal  within  a  fixed  term,  less  than  nineteen  years. 
And  I  hope  yourself  and  your  committee  will  render  the 
immortal  service  of  introducing  this  practice.  Not  that  it 
is  expected  that  Congress  should  formally  declare  such  a 
principle.  They  wisely  enough  avoid  deciding  on  abstract 
questions.  But  they  may  be  induced  to  keep  themselves 
within  its  limits. 

I  am  sorry  to  see  our  loans  begin  at  so  exorbitant  an 
interest.  And  yet,  even  at  that  you  will  soon  be  at  the 
bottom  of  the  loan-bag.  We  are  an  agricultural  nation. 
Such  an  one  employs  its  sparings  in  the  purchase  or  im 
provement  of  land  or  stocks.  The  lendable  money  among 
them  is  chiefly  that  of  orphans  and  wards  in  the  hands 
of  executors  and  guardians,  and  that  which  the  farmer 
lays  by  till  he  has  enough  for  the  purchase  in  view.  In 
such  a  nation  there  is  one  and  one  only  resource  for  loans, 
sufficient  to  carry  them  through  the  expense  of  a  war, 
and  that  will  always  be  sufficient,  and  in  the  power  of 
an  honest  government,  punctual  in  the  preservation  of  its 
faith.  The  fund  I  mean,  is  the  mass  of  circulating  coin. 
Every  one  knows,  that  although  not  literally,  it  is  nearly 
true,  that  every  paper  dollar  emitted  banishes  a  silver  one 
from  the  circulation.  A  nation,  therefore,  making  its  pur 
chases  and  payments  with  bills  fitted  for  circulation, 
thrusts  an  equal  sum  of  coin  out  of  circulation.  This  is 
equivalent  to  borrowing  that  sum,  and  yet  the  vendor  re 
ceiving  payment  in  a  medium  as  effectual  as  coin  for  his 


purchases  or  payments,  has  no  claim  to  interest.  And  so 
the  nation  may  continue  to  issue  its  bills  as  far  as  its 
wants  require,  and  the  limits  of  the  circulation  will  admit. 
Those  limits  are  understood  to  extend  with  us  at  present 
to  two  hundred  millions  of  dollars,  a  greater  sum  than 
would  be  necessary  for  any  war.  But  this,  the  only  re 
source  which  the  Government  could  command  with  cer 
tainty,  the  States  have  unfortunately  fooled  away,  nay, 
corruptly  alienated  to  swindlers  and  shavers,  under  the 
cover  of  private  banks.  Say,  too,  as  an  additional  evil, 
that  the  disposal  funds  of  individuals,  to  this  great  amount, 
have  thus  been  withdrawn  from  improvement  and  useful 
enterprise,  and  employed  in  the  useless,  usurious,  and  de 
moralizing  practices  of  bank  directors  and  their  accomplices. 
In  the  war  of  1755,  our  State  availed  itself  of  this  fund 
by  issuing  a  paper-money  bottomed  on  a  specific  tax  for 
its  redemption,  and,  to  insure  its  credit,  bearing  an  interest 
of  five  per  cent.  Within  a  very  short  time,  not  a  bill  of 
this  emission  was  to  be  found  in  circulation.  It  was 
locked  up  in  the  chests  of  executors,  guardians,  widows, 
farmers,  etc.  We  then  issued  bills  bottomed  on  a  redeem 
ing  tax,  but  bearing  no  interest.  These  were  readily  re 
ceived,  and  never  depreciated  a  single  farthing.  In  the 
Revolutionary  War,  the  old  Congress  and  the  States  issued 
bills  without  interest,  and  without  tax.  They  occupied  the 
channels  of  circulation  very  freely,  till  those  channels  were 
overflowed  by  an  excess  beyond  all  the  calls  of  circulation. 
But  although  we  have  so  improvidently  suffered  the  field 
of  circulating  medium  to  be  filched  from  us  by  private 
individuals,  yet  I  think  we  may  recover  it  in  part,  and 
even  in  the  whole,  if  the  States  will  co-operate  with  us.  If 
treasury  bills  are  emitted  on  a  tax  appropriated  for  their 
redemption  in  fifteen  years,  and  (to  insure  preference  in 
the  first  moments  of  competition)  bearing  an  interest  of 



six  per  cent.,  there  is  no  one  who  would  not  take  them  in 
preference  to  the  bank  paper  now  afloat,  on  a  principle  of 
patriotism  as  well  as  interest  and  they  would  be  withdrawn 
from  circulation  into  private  hoards  to  a  considerable 
amount.  Their  credit  once  established,  others  might  be 
emitted,  bottomed  also  on  a  tax,  but  not  bearing  interest; 
and  if  ever  their  credit  faltered,  open  public  loans,  on 
which  these  bills  alone  should  be  received  as  specie. 
These,  operating  as  a  sinking  fund,  would  reduce  the  quan 
tity  in  circulation,  so  as  to  maintain  that  in  an  equilibrium 
with  specie.  It  is  not  easy  to  estimate  the  obstacles  which, 
in  the  beginning,  we  should  encounter  in  ousting  the  banks 
from  their  possession  of  the  circulation;  but  a  steady  and 
judicious  alternation  of  emissions  and  loans,  would  reduce 
them  in  time.  But,  while  this  is  going  on,  another  measure 
should  be  pressed,  to  recover  ultimately  our  right  to  the 
circulation.  The  States  should  be  applied  to,  to  transfer 
the  right  of  issuing  circulating  paper  to  Congress  ex 
clusively,  in  perpetuum,  if  possible,  but,  during  the  war,  at 
least,  with  a  saving  of  charter  rights.  I  believe  that  every 
State  west  and  south  of  Connecticut  River,  except  Dela 
ware,  would  immediately  do  it,  and  the  others  would  follow 
in  time.  Congress  would,  of  course,  begin  by  obliging  un- 
chartered  banks  to  wind  up  their  affairs  within  a  short 
time,  and  the  others  as  their  charters  expired,  forbidding 
the  subsequent  circulation  of  their  paper.  This  they  would 
supply  with  their  own,  bottomed,  every  emission,  on  an 
adequate  tax,  and  bearing  or  not  bearing  interest,  as  the 
state  of  the  public  pulse  should  indicate.  Even  in  the  non- 
complying  States,  these  bills  would  make  their  way,  and 
supplant  the  unfunded  paper  of  their  banks,  by  their 
solidity,  by  the  universality  of  their  currency,  and  by  their 
receivability  for  customs  and  taxes.  It  would  be  in 
their  power,  too,  to  curtail  those  banks  to  the  amount  of 



their  actual  specie,  by  gathering  up  their  paper,  and  run 
ning  it  constantly  on  them.  The  national  paper  might  thus 
take  place  even  in  the  non-complying  States.  In  this  way,  I 
am  not  without  a  hope,  that  this  great,  this  sole  resource  for 
loans  in  an  agricultural  country,  might  yet  be  recovered  for 
the  use  of  the  nation  during  war,  and,  if  obtained  in  per- 
petuum,  it  would  always  be  sufficient  to  carry  us  through 
any  war;  provided,  that  in  the  interval  between  war  and 
war,  all  the  outstanding  paper  should  be  called  in,  coin  be 
permitted  to  flow  in  again,  and  to  hold  the  field  of  circula 
tion  until  another  war  should  require  its  yielding  place 
again  to  the  national  medium. 

But,  it  will  be  asked,  are  we  to  have  no  banks  ?  Are 
merchants  and  others  to  be  deprived  of  the  resource  of 
short  accommodations,  found  so  convenient?  I  answer,  let 
us  have  banks;  but  let  them  be  such  as  are  alone  to  be 
found  in  any  country  on  earth,  except  Great  Britain. 
There  is  not  a  bank  of  discount  on  the  Continent  of 
Europe  (at  least  there  was  not  one  when  I  was  there) 
which  offers  anything  but  cash  in  exchange  for  discounted 
bills.  No  one  has  a  natural  right  to  the  trade  of  a  money 
lender,  but  he  who  has  the  money  to  lend.  Let  those  then 
among  us,  who  have  a  moneyed  capital,  and  who  prefer 
employing  it  in  loans  rather  than  otherwise,  set  up  banks, 
and  give  cash  or  national  bills  for  the  notes  they  discount. 
Perhaps,  to  encourage  them,  a  larger  interest  than  is  legal 
in  the  other  cases  might  be  allowed  them,  on  the  condition 
of  their  lending  for  short  periods  only.  It  is  from  Great 
Britain  we  copy  the  idea  of  giving  paper  in  exchange  for 
discounted  bills ;  and  while  we  have  derived  from  that 
country  some  good  principles  of  government  and  legisla 
tion,  we  unfortunately  run  into  the  most  servile  imitation 
of  all  her  practices,  ruinous  as  they  prove  to  her,  and  with 
the  gulf  yawning  before  us  into  which  these  very  practices 



are  precipitating  her.  The  unlimited  emission  of  bank 
paper  has  banished  all  her  specie,  and  is  now,  by  a  depreci 
ation  acknowledged  by  her  own  statesmen,  carrying  her 
rapidly  to  bankruptcy,  as  it  did  France,  as  it  did  us,  and 
will  do  us  again,  and  every  country  permitting  paper  to  be 
circulated,  other  than  that  by  public  authority,  rigorously 
limited  to  the  just  measure  for  circulation.  Private  fort 
unes,  in  the  present  state  of  our  circulation,  are  at  the 
mercy  of  those  self-created  money-lenders,  and  are  pros 
trated  by  the  floods  of  nominal  money  with  which  their 
avarice  deluges  us.  He  who  lent  his  money  to  the  public 
or  to  an  individual,  before  the  institution  of  the  United 
States  Bank,  twenty  years  ago,  when  wheat  was  well  sold 
at  a  dollar  the  bushel,  and  receives  now  his  nominal  sum 
when  it  sells  at  two  dollars,  is  cheated  of  half  his  fortune; 
and  by  whom?  By  the  banks,  which,  since  that,  have 
thrown  into  circulation  ten  dollars  of  their  nominal  money 
where  was  one  at  that  time. 

On  Political  History 

To  John  Adams 

MONTICELLO,  June  27,   1813. 
€5  iro\v8ei>8pov  avrjp  'v\r)TOfj,o<s  cA.$an/ 

Traptovros  aSrjv,  TroOev  apteral  epyco 
Ti  Trparov  KaraAe^w;   CTTEC  Trapa  /xvpta 

And  I,  too,  my  dear  sir,  like  the  wood-cutter  of  Ida, 
should  doubt  where  to  begin,  were  I  to  enter  the  forest  of 
opinions,  discussions,  and  contentions  which  have  occurred 
in  our  day.  I  should  say  with  Theocritus,  Tt  irparov 
CTTCI  Trapa  /xvpta  fnrrjv.  But  I  shall  not  do  it. 


The  summum  bonum  with  me  is  now  truly  Epicurean,  ease 
of  body  and  tranquillity  of  mind;  and  to  these  I  wish  to 
consign  my  remaining  days.  Men  have  differed  in  opinion, 
and  been  divided  into  parties  by  these  opinions,  from  the 
first  origin  of  societies,  and  in  all  governments  where  they 
have  been  permitted  freely  to  think  and  to  speak.  The 
same  political  parties  which  now  agitate  the  United  States, 
have  existed  through  all  time.  Whether  the  power  of  the 
people  or  that  of  the  apurroi.  should  prevail,  were  ques 
tions  which  kept  the  States  of  Greece  arid  Rome  in  eternal 
convulsions,  as  they  now  schismatize  every  people  whose 
minds  and  mouths  are  not  shut  up  by  the  gag  of  a  despot. 
And,  in  fact,  the  terms  of  whig  and  tory  belong  to  natural 
as  well  as  to  civil  history.  They  denote  the  temper  and 
constitution  of  mind  of  different  individuals.  To  come  to 
our  own  country,  and  to  the  times  when  you  and  I  became 
first  acquainted,  we  will  remember  the  violent  parties  which 
agitated  the  old  Congress,  and  their  bitter  contests.  There 
you  and  I  were  together,  and  the  Jays,  and  the  Dickinsons, 
and  other  anti-independents,  were  arrayed  against  us. 
They  cherished  the  monarchy  of  England,  and  we  the 
rights  of  our  countrymen.  When  our  present  Government 
was  in  the  mew,  passing  from  Confederation  to  Union,  how 
bitter  was  the  schism  between  the  Feds  and  Antis !  Here 
you  and  I  were  together  again.  For  although,  for  a  mo 
ment,  separated  by  the  Atlantic  from  the  scene  of  action, 
I  favored  the  opinion  that  nine  States  should  confirm  the 
Constitution,  in  order  to  secure  it,  and  the  others  hold  off 
until  certain  amendments,  deemed  favorable  to  freedom, 
should  be  made.  I  rallied  in  the  first  instant  to  the  wiser 
proposition  of  Massachusetts,  that  all  should  confirm,  and 
then  all  instruct  their  delegates  to  urge  those  amendments. 
The  amendments  were  made,  and  all  were  reconciled  to  the 
Government.  But  as  soon  as  it  was  put  into  motion,  the 



line  of  division  was  again  drawn.  We  broke  into  two 
parties,  each  wishing  to  give  the  Government  a  different 
direction :  the  one  to  strengthen  the  most  popular  branch, 
the  other  the  more  permanent  branches,  and  to  extend 
their  permanence.  Here  you  and  I  separated  for  the  first 
time,  and  as  we  had  been  longer  than  most  others  on  the 
public  theatre,  and  our  names  therefore  were  more  familiar 
to  our  countrymen,  the  party  which  considered  you  as 
thinking  with  them,  placed  your  name  at  their  head;  the 
other,  for  the  same  reason,  selected  mine.  But  neither 
decency  nor  inclination  permitted  us  to  become  the  advo 
cates  of  ourselves,  or  to  take  part  personally  in  the  violent 
contests  which  followed.  We  suffered  ourselves,  as  you 
so  well  expressed  it,  to  be  passive  subjects  of  public  dis 
cussion.  And  these  discussions,  whether  relating  to  men, 
measures,  or  opinions,  were  conducted  by  the  parties  with 
an  animosity,  a  bitterness,  and  an  indecency  which  had 
never  been  exceeded.  All  the  resources  of  reason  and  of 
wrath  were  exhausted  by  each  party  in  support  of  its  own, 
and  to  prostrate  the  adversary  opinions ;  one  was  up 
braided  with  receiving  the  anti-federalists,  the  other  the  old 
tories  and  refugees,  into  their  bosom.  Of  this  acrimony, 
the  public  papers  of  the  day  exhibit  ample  testimony,  in 
the  debates  of  Congress,  of  State  Legislatures,  of  stump- 
orators,  in  addresses,  answers,  and  newspaper  essays ;  and 
to  these,  without  question,  may  be  added  the  private  cor 
respondences  of  individuals;  and  the  less  guarded  in  these, 
because  not  meant  for  the  public  eye,  not  restrained  by  the 
respect  due  to  that,  but  poured  forth  from  the  over 
flowings  of  the  heart  into  the  bosom  of  a  friend,  as  a  mo 
mentary  easement  of  our  feelings.  In  this  way,  and  in 
answers  to  addresses,  you  and  I  could  indulge  ourselves. 
We  have  probably  done  it,  sometimes  with  warmth,  often 
with  prejudice,  but  always,  as  we  believed,  adhering  to 



truth.  I  have  not  examined  my  letters  of  that  day.  I 
have  no  stomach  to  revive  the  memory  of  its  feelings.  But 
one  of  these  letters,  it  seems,  has  got  before  the  public, 
by  accident  and  infidelity,  by  the  death  of  one  friend  to 
whom  it  was  written,  and  of  his  friend  to  whom  it  had  been 
communicated,  and  by  the  malice  and  treachery  of  a  third 
person,  of  whom  I  had  never  before  heard,  merely  to  make 
mischief,  and  in  the  same  satanic  spirit  in  which  the  same 
enemy  had  intercepted  and  published,  in  1776,  your  letter 
animadverting  on  Dickinson's  character.  How  it  happened 
that  I  quoted  you  in  my  letter  to  Dr.  Priestley,  and  for 
whom,  and  not  for  yourself,  the  strictures  were  meant,  has 
been  explained  to  you  in  my  letter  of  the  15th,  which 
had  been  committed  to  the  post  eight  days  before  I  re 
ceived  yours  of  the  10th,  llth,  and  1-lth.  That  gave  you 
the  reference  which  these  asked  to  the  particular  answer 
alluded  to  in  the  one  to  Priestley.  The  renewal  of  these 
old  discussions,  my  friend,  would  be  equally  useless  and 
irksome.  To  the  volumes  then  written  on  these  subjects, 
human  ingenuity  can  add  nothing  new,  and  the  rather,  as 
lapse  of  time  has  obliterated  many  of  the  facts.  And 
shall  you  and  I,  my  dear  sir,  at  our  age,  like  Priam  of  old, 
gird  on  the  "arma,  diu  desueta,  trementibus  cevo  humeris?" 
Shall  we,  at  our  age,  become  the  Athletae  of  party,  and  ex 
hibit  ourselves  as  gladiators  in  the  arena  of  the  newspa 
pers?  Nothing  in  the  universe  could  induce  me  to  it.  My 
mind  has  been  long  fixed  to  bow  to  the  judgment  of  the 
world,  who  will  judge  by  my  acts,  and  will  never  take 
counsel  from  me  as  to  what  that  judgment  shall  be.  If 
your  objects  and  opinions  have  been  misunderstood,  if  the 
measures  and  principles  of  others  have  been  wrongfully 
imputed  to  you,  as  I  believe  they  have  been,  that  you 
should  leave  an  explanation  of  them,  would  be  an  act  of 
justice  to  yourself.  I  will  add,  that  it  has  been  hoped  that 



you  would  leave  such  explanations  as  would  place  every 
saddle  on  its  right  horse,  and  replace  on  the  shoulders  of 
others  the  burdens  they  shifted  on  yours. 

But  all  this,  my  friend,  is  offered  merely  for  your  con 
sideration  and  judgment,  without  presuming  to  anticipate 
what  you  alone  are  qualified  to  decide  for  yourself.  I 
mean  to  express  my  own  purpose  only,  and  the  reflections 
which  have  led  to  it.  To  me,  then,  it  appears  that  there 
have  been  differences  of  opinion  and  party  differences,  from 
the  first  establishment  of  governments  to  the  present  day, 
and  on  the  same  question  which  now  divides  our  own  coun 
try;  that  these  will  continue  through  all  future  time;  that 
every  one  takes  his  side  in  favor  of  the  many  or  of  the 
few,  according  to  his  constitution  and  the  circumstances  in 
which  he  is  placed;  that  opinions,  which  are  equally  honest 
on  both  sides,  should  not  affect  personal  esteem  or  social 
intercourse;  that  as  we  judge  between  the  Claudii  and  the 
Gracchi,  the  Wentworths  and  the  Hampdens  of  past  ages, 
so  of  those  among  us  whose  names  may  happen  to  be  re 
membered  for  a  while,  the  next  generations  will  judge, 
favorably  or  unfavorably,  according  to  the  complexion  of 
individual  minds  and  the  side  they  shall  themselves  have 
taken ;  that  nothing  new  can  be  added  by  you  or  me  to 
what  has  been  said  by  others,  and  will  be  said  in  every  age 
in  support  of  the  conflicting  opinions  on  government;  and 
that  wisdom  and  duty  dictate  an  humble  resignation  to  the 
verdict  of  our  future  peers.  In  doing  this  myself,  I  shall 
certainly  not  suffer  moot  questions  to  affect  the  sentiments 
of  sincere  friendship  and  respect  consecrated  to  you  by  so 
long  a  course  of  time,  and  of  which  I  now  repeat  sincere 


On  Term  of  Office  and  Massachusetts  Politics 

To  James  Martin 

MONTICELLO,  September  20,  1813. 

Sir:  Your  quotation  from  the  former  paper  alludes,  as 
I  presume,  to  the  term  of  office  to  our  Senate;  a  term,  like 
that  of  the  judges,  too  long  for  my  approbation.  I  am  for 
responsibilities  at  short  periods,  seeing  neither  reason  nor 
safety  in  making  public  functionaries  independent  of  the 
nation  for  life,  or  even  for  long  terms  of  years.  On  this 
principle  I  prefer  the  Presidential  term  of  four  years,  to 
that  of  seven  years,  which  I  myself  had  at  first  suggested, 
annexing  to  it,  however,  ineligibility  forever  after;  and  I 
wish  it  were  now  annexed  to  the  second  quadrennial  election 
of  President. 

The  conduct  of  Massachusetts,  which  is  the  subject  of 
your  address  to  Mr.  Quincy,  is  serious,  as  embarrassing  the 
operations  of  the  war,  and  joepardizing  its  issue;  and  still 
more  so,  as  an  example  of  contumacy  against  the  Constitu 
tion.  One  method  of  proving  their  purpose,  would  be  to 
call  a  convention  of  their  State,  and  to  require  them  to 
declare  themselves  members  of  the  Union,  and  obedient  to 
its  determinations,  or  not  members,  and  let  them  go.  Put 
this  question  solemnly  to  their  people,  and  their  answer 
cannot  be  doubtful.  One-half  of  them  are  republicans,  and 
would  cling  to  the  Union  from  principle.  Of  the  other 
half,  the  dispassionate  part  would  consider:  1st.  That  they 
do  not  raise  bread  sufficient  for  their  own  subsistence,  and 
must  look  to  Europe  for  the  deficiency,  if  excluded  from 
our  ports,  which  vital  interests  would  force  us  to  do.  2d. 
That  they  are  navigating  people  without  a  stick  of  tim 
ber  for  the  hull  of  a  ship,  or  a  pound  of  anything  to  ex- 



port  in  it,  which  would  be  admitted  at  any  market.  3d. 
That  they  are  also  a  manufacturing  people,  and  left  by 
the  exclusive  system  of  Europe,  without  a  market  but  ours. 
4th.  That  as  the  rivals  of  England  in  manufactures,  in 
commerce,  in  navigation,  and  fisheries,  they  would  meet  her 
competition  in  every  point.  5th.  That  England  would  feel 
no  scruples  in  making  the  abandonment  and  ruin  of  such  a 
rival  the  price  of  a  treaty  with  the  producing  States,  whose 
interest,  too,  it  would  be  to  nourish  a  navigation  beyond  the 
Atlantic,  rather  than  a  hostile  one  at  our  own  door.  And 
6th.  That  in  case  of  war  with  the  Union,  which  occurrences 
between  coterminous  nations  frequently  produce,  it  would 
be  a  contest  of  one  against  fifteen.  The  remaining  portion 
of  the  federal  moiety  of  the  State  would,  I  believe,  brave 
all  these  obstacles,  because  they  are  monarchists  in  prin 
ciple,  bearing  deadly  hatred  to  the  republican  fellow- 
citizens,  impatient  under  the  ascendancy  of  republican 
principles,  devoted  in  their  attachment  to  England,  and 
preferring  to  be  placed  under  her  despotism,  if  they  cannot 
hold  the  helm  of  government  here.  I  see,  in  their  separa 
tion,  no  evil  but  the  example,  and  I  believe  that  the  effect 
of  that  would  be  corrected  by  an  early  and  humiliating  re 
turn  to  the  Union,  after  losing  much  of  the  population  of 
their  country,  insufficient  in  its  own  resources  to  feed  her 
numerous  inhabitants,  and  inferior  in  all  its  allurements  to 
the  more  inviting  soils,  climates,  and  governments  of  the 
other  States.  Whether  a  dispassionate  discussion  before  the 
public,  of  the  advantages  and  disadvantages  of  separation 
to  both  parties,  would  be  the  best  medicine  for  this  dialytic 
fever,  or  to  consider  it  as  sacrilege  ever  to  touch,  the  ques 
tion,  may  be  doubted.  I  am,  myself,  generally  disposed  to 
indulge,  and  to  follow  reason;  and  believe  that  in  no  case 
would  it  be  safer  than  in  the  present.  Their  refractory 
course,  however,  will  not  be  unpunished  by  the  indignation 



of  their  co-States,  their  loss  of  influence  with  them,  the 
censures  of  history,  and  the  stain  on  the  character  of  their 

The  Monroe  Doctrine  Foreshadowed 

Baron  Alexander  von  Humboldt 

MONTPELIER,  December  6,  1813. 

I  think  it  most  fortunate  that  your  travels  in  those 
countries  were  so  timed  as  to  make  them  known  to  the 
world  in  the  moment  they  were  about  to  become  actors 
on  its  stage.  That  they  will  throw  off  their  European  de 
pendence  I  have  no  doubt,  but  in  what  kind  of  government 
their  revolution  will  end  I  am  not  so  certain.  History,  I 
believe,  furnishes  no  example  of  a  priest-ridden  people 
maintaining  a  free  civil  government.  This  marks  the  lowest 
grade  of  ignorance,  of  which  their  civil  as  well  as  religious 
leaders  will  always  avail  themselves  for  their  own  purposes. 
The  vicinity  of  New  Spain  to  the  United  States,  and  their 
consequent  intercourse,  may  furnish  schools  for  the  higher, 
and  example  for  the  lower  classes  of  their  citizens.  And 
Mexico,  where  we  learn  from  you  that  men  of  science  are 
not  wanting,  may  revolutionize  itself  under  better  auspices 
than  the  Southern  provinces.  These  last,  I  fear,  must  end 
in  military  despotisms.  The  different  castes  of  their  in 
habitants,  their  mutual  hatreds  and  jealousies,  their  pn>- 
found  ignorance  and  bigotry,  will  be  played  off  by  cunning 
leaders,  and  each  be  made  the  instrument  of  enslaving  the 
others.  But  of  all  this  you  can  best  judge,  for  in  truth  we 
have  little  knowledge  of  them  to  be  depended  on,  but 
through  you.  But  in  whatever  governments  they  end  they 
will  be  American  governments,  no  longer  to  be  involved  in 
the  never-ceasing  broils  of  Europe.  The  European  nations 



constitute  a  separate  division  of  the  globe;  their  localities 
make  them  part  of  a  distinct  system;  they  have  a  set  of 
interests  of  their  own  in  which  it  is  our  business  never  to 
engage  ourselves.  America  has  a  hemisphere  to  itself.  It 
must  have  its  separate  system  of  interests,  which  must  not 
be  subordinated  to  those  of  Europe.  The  insulated  state 
in  which  nature  has  placed  the  American  continent,  should 
so  far  avail  it  that  no  spark  of  war  kindled  in  the  other 
quarters  of  the  globe  should  be  wafted  across  the  wide 
oceans  which  separate  us  from  them.  And  it  will  be  so. 
In  fifty  years  more  the  United  States  alone  will  contain 
fifty  millions  of  inhabitants,  and  fifty  years  are  soon  gone 
over.  The  peace  of  1763  is  within  that  period.  I  was 
then  twenty  years  old,  and  of  course  remember  well  all  the 
transactions  of  the  war  preceding  it.  And  you  will  live  to 
see  the  epoch  now  equally  ahead  of  us ;  and  the  numbers 
which  will  then  be  spread  over  the  other  parts  of  the  Ameri 
can  hemisphere,  catching  long  before  that  the  principles  of 
our  portion  of  it,  and  concurring  with  us  in  the  maintenance 
of  the  same  system.  You  see  how  readily  we  run  into  ages 
beyond  the  grave;  and  even  those  of  us  to  whom  that  grave 
is  already  opening  its  quiet  bosom.  I  am  anticipating 
events  of  which  you  will  be  the  bearer  to  me  in  the  Elysian 
fields  fifty  years  hence. 

On  the  Character  of  Washington 

To  Dr.  Walter  Jones 

MONTICELLO,  January  2,  1814. 

I  think  I  knew  General  Washington  intimately  and 
thoroughly ;  and  were  I  called  on  to  delineate  his  character, 
it  should  be  in  terms  like  these. 



His  mind  was  great  and  powerful,  without  being  of  the 
very  first  order ;  his  penetration  strong,  though  not  so  acute 
as  that  of  a  Newton,  Bacon,  or  Locke ;  and  as  far  as  he 
saw,  no  judgment  was  ever  sounder.  It  was  slow  in  opera 
tion,  being  little  aided  by  invention  or  imagination,  but  sure 
in  conclusion.  Hence  the  common  remark  of  his  officers, 
of  the  advantage  he  derived  from  councils  of  war,  where 
hearing  all  suggestions,  he  selected  whatever  was  best;  and 
certainly  no  general  ever  planned  his  battles  more  judi 
ciously.  But  if  deranged  during  the  course  of  the  action, 
if  any  member  of  his  plan  was  dislocated  by  sudden  cir 
cumstances,  he  was  slow  in  re-adjustment.  The  conse 
quence  was,  that  he  often  failed  in  the  field,  and  rarely 
against  an  enemy  in  station,  as  at  Boston  and  York.  He 
was  incapable  of  fear,  meeting  personal  dangers  with  the 
calmest  unconcern.  Perhaps  the  strongest  feature  in  his 
character  was  prudence,  never  acting  until  every  circum 
stance,  every  consideration,  was  maturely  weighed;  refrain 
ing  if  he  saw  a  doubt,  but,  when  once  decided,  going 
through  with  his  purpose,  whatever  obstacles  opposed.  His 
integrity  was  most  pure,  his  justice  the  most  indexible  I 
have  ever  known,  no  motives  of  interest  or  consanguinity, 
of  friendship  or  hatred,  being  able  to  bias  his  decision. 
He  was,  indeed,  in  every  sense  of  the  words,  a  wise,  a  good, 
and  a  great  man.  His  temper  was  naturally  irritable  and 
high  toned;  but  reflection  and  resolution  had  obtained  a 
firm  and  habitual  ascendancy  over  it.  If  ever,  however,  it 
broke  its  bonds,  he  was  most  tremendous  in  his  wrath.  In 
his  expenses  he  was  honorable,  but  exact;  liberal  in  con 
tributions  to  whatever  promised  utility;  but  frowning  and 
unyielding  on  all  visionary  projects,  and  all  unworthy  calls 
on  his  charity.  His  heart  was  not  warm  in  its  affections; 
but  he  exactly  calculated  every  man's  value,  and  gave  him 
a  solid  esteem  proportioned  to  it.  His  person,  you  know, 



fine,  his  stature  exactly  what  one  would  wish,  his  de 
portment  easy,  erect  and  noble;  the  best  horseman  of  his 
age,  and  the  most  graceful  figure  that  could  be  seen  on 
horseback.  Although  in  the  circle  of  his  friends,  where 
he  might  be  unreserved  with  safety,  he  took  a  free  share 
in  conversation,  his  colloquial  talents  were  not  above  medioc 
rity,  possessing  neither  copiousness  of  ideas,  nor  fluency  of 
words.  In  public,  when  called  on  for  a  sudden  opinion, 
he  was  unready,  short  and  embarrassed.  Yet  he  wrote 
readily,  rather  diffusely,  in  an  easy  and  correct  style.  This 
he  had  acquired  by  conversation  with  the  world,  for  his  edu 
cation  was  merely  reading,  writing  and  common  arithmetic, 
to  which  he  added  surveying  at  a  later  day.  His  time  was 
employed  in  action  chiefly,  reading  little,  and  that  only 
in  agriculture  and  English  history.  His  correspondence 
became  necessarily  extensive,  and,  with  journalizing  his 
agricultural  proceedings,  occupied  most  of  his  leisure  hours 
within  doors.  On  the  whole,  his  character  was,  in  its  mass, 
perfect,  in  nothing  bad,  in  few  points  indifferent;  and  it 
may  truly  be  said,  that  never  did  nature  and  fortune  com 
bine  more  perfectly  to  make  a  man  great,  and  to  place  him 
in  the  siine  constellation  with  whatever  worthies  have 
merited  from  man  an  everlasting  remembrance.  For  his 
was  the  singular  destiny  and  merit,  of  leading  the  armies 
of  his  country  successfully  through  an  arduous  war,  for  the 
establishment  of  its  independence ;  of  conducting  its  councils 
through  the  birth  of  a  government,  new  in  its  forms  and 
principles,  until  it  had  settled  down  into  a  quiet  and  orderly 
train ;  and  of  scrupulously  obeying  the  laws  through  the 
whole  of  his  career,  civil  and  military,  of  which  the  history 
of  the  world  furnishes  no  other  example. 

How,  then,  can  it  be  perilous  for  you  to  take  such  a  man 
on  your  shoulders  ?  I  am  satisfied  the  great  body  of  re 
publicans  think  of  him  as  I  do.  We  were,  indeed,  dis- 



satisfied  with  him  on  his  ratification  of  the  British  treaty. 
But  this  was  short-lived.  We  knew  his  honesty,  the  wiles 
with  which  he  was  encompassed,  and  that  age  had  already 
begun  to  relax  the  firmness  of  his  purposes;  and  I  am  con 
vinced  he  is  more  deeply  seated  in  the  love  and  gratitude 
of  the  republicans,  than  in  the  Pharisaical  homage  of  the 
federal  monarchists.  P'or  he  was  no  monarchist  from  pref 
erence  of  his  judgment.  The  soundness  of  that  gave  him 
correct  views  of  the  rights  of  man,  and  his  severe  justice 
devoted  him  to  them.  He  has  often  declared  to  me  that  he 
considered  our  new  Constitution  as  an  experiment  on  the 
practicability  of  republican  government,  and  with  what 
dose  of  liberty  man  could  be  trusted  for  his  own  good ;  that 
he  was  determined  the  experiment  should  have  a  fair  trial, 
and  would  lose  the  last  drop  of  his  blood  in  support  of  it. 
And  these  declarations  he  repeated  to  me  the  oftener  and 
more  pointedly,  because  he  knew  my  suspicions  of  Colonel 
Hamilton's  views,  and  probably  had  heard  from  him  the 
same  declarations  which  I  had,  to  wit,  "that  the  British 
constitution,  with  its  unequal  representation,  corruption  and 
other  existing  abuses,  was  the  most  perfect  government 
which  had  ever  been  established  on  earth,  and  that  a  ref 
ormation  of  those  abuses  would  make  it  an  impracticable 
government."  I  do  believe  that  General  Washington  had 
not  a  firm  confidence  in  the  durability  of  our  government. 
He  was  naturally  distrustful  of  men,  and  inclined  to  gloomy 
apprehensions ;  and  I  was  ever  persuaded  that  a  belief  that 
we  must  at  length  end  in  something  like  a  British  constitu 
tion,  had  some  weight  in  his  adoption  of  the  ceremonies  of 
levees,  birthdays,  pompous  meetings  with  Congress,  and 
other  forms  of  the  same  character,  calculated  to  prepare  us 
gradually  for  a  change  which  he  believed  possible,  and  to 
let  it  come  on  with  as  little  shock  as  might  be  to  the  public 



These  are  my  opinions  of  General  Washington,  which  I 
would  vouch  at  the  judgment  seat  of  God,  having  been 
formed  on  an  acquaintance  of  thirty  years.  I  served  with 
him  in  the  Virginia  legislature  from  1769  to  the  Revolu 
tionary  war,  and  again,  a  short  time  in  Congress,  until  he 
left  us  to  take  command  of  the  army.  During  the  war 
and  after  it  we  corresponded  occasionally,  and  in  the  four 
years  of  my  continuance  in  the  office  of  Secretary  of  State, 
our  intercourse  was  daily,  confidential  and  cordial.  After 
I  retired  from  that  office,  great  and  malignant  pains  were 
taken  by  our  federal  monarchists,  and  not  entirely  without 
effect,  to  make  him  view  me  as  a  theorist,  holding  French 
principles  of  government,  which  would  lead  infallibly  to 
licentiousness  and  anarchy.  And  to  this  he  listened  the 
more  easily,  from  my  known  disapprobation  of  the  British 
treaty.  I  never  saw  him  afterwards,  or  these  malignant  in 
sinuations  should  have  been  dissipated  before  his  just  judg 
ment,  as  mists  before  the  sun.  I  felt  on  his  death,  with  my 
countrymen,  that  "verily  a  great  man  hath  fallen  this  day 
in  Israel." 

More  time  and  recollection  would  enable  me  to  add  many 
other  traits  of  his  character;  but  why  add  them  to  you  who 
knew  him  well?  And  I  cannot  justify  to  myself  a  longer 
detention  of  your  paper. 

Vole,  proprieque  tuum,  me  esse  tibi  persuadeas. 

On  the  Basis  of  Morality 

To  Thomas  Law 

POPLAR  FOREST,  June  13,  1811. 

Of   all   the   theories    on   this    question,    the    most   whim 
sical    seems    to    have    been    that    of    Wollaston,    who    con- 



siders  truth  as  the  foundation  of  morality.  The  thief  who 
steals  your  guinea  does  wrong  only  inasmuch  as  he  acts  a 
lie  in  using  your  guinea  as  if  it  were  his  own.  Truth  is 
certainly  a  branch  of  morality,  and  a  very  important  one 
to  society.  But  presented  as  its  foundation,  it  is  as  if  a 
tree  taken  up  by  the  roots,  had  its  stem  reversed  in  the 
air,  and  one  of  its  branches  planted  in  the  ground.  Some 
have  made  the  love  of  God  the  foundation  of  morality. 
This,  too,  is  but  a  branch  of  our  moral  duties,  which  are 
generally  divided  into  duties  to  God  and  duties  to  man. 
If  we  did  a  good  act  merely  from  the  love  of  God  and  a 
belief  that  it  is  pleasing  to  Him,  whence  arises  the  morality 
of  the  Atheist?  It  is  idle  to  say,  as  some  do,  that  no  such 
being  exists.  We  have  the  same  evidence  of  the  fact  as 
of  most  of  those  we  act  on,  to  wit:  their  own  affirmations, 
and  their  reasonings  in  support  of  them.  I  have  observed, 
indeed,  generally,  that  while  in  Protestant  countries  the 
defections  from  the  Platonic  Christianity  of  the  priests  is 
to  Deism,  in  Catholic  countries  they  are  to  Atheism.  Did 
erot,  D'Alembert,  D'Holbach,  Condorcet,  are  known  to  have 
been  among  the  most  virtuous  of  men.  Their  virtue,  then, 
must  have  had  some  other  foundation  than  the  love  of 

The  To  KaXov  of  others  is  founded  in  a  different  faculty, 
that  of  taste,  which  is  not  even  a  branch  of  morality.  We 
have  indeed  an  innate  sense  of  what  we  call  beautiful,  but 
that  is  exercised  chiefly  on  subjects  addressed  to  the  fancy, 
whether  through  the  eye  in  visible  forms,  as  landscape,  ani 
mal  figure,  dress,  drapery,  architecture,  the  composition  of 
colors,  etc.,  or  to  the  imagination  directly,  as  imagery,  style, 
or  measure  in  prose  or  poetry,  or  whatever  else  constitutes 
the  domain  of  criticism  or  taste,  a  faculty  entirely  distinct 
from  the  moral  one.  Self-interest,  or  rather  self-love,  or 
egoism,  has  been  more  plausibly  substituted  as  the  basis  of 



morality.  But  I  consider  our  relations  with  others  as  consti 
tuting  the  boundaries  of  morality.  With  ourselves  we  stand 
on  the  ground  of  identity,  not  of  relation,  which  last,  re 
quiring  two  subjects,  excludes  self-love  confined  to  a  single 
one.  To  ourselves,  in  strict  language,  we  can  owe  no  duties, 
obligation  requiring  also  two  parties.  Self-love,  therefore, 
is  no  part  of  morality.  Indeed  it  is  exactly  its  counterpart. 
It  is  the  sole  antagonist  of  virtue,  leading  us  constantly  by 
our  propensities  to  self-gratification  in  violation  of  our 
moral  duties  to  others.  Accordingly,  it  is  against  this 
enemy  that  are  erected  the  batteries  of  moralists  and  re 
ligionists,  as  the  only  obstacle  to  the  practice  of  morality. 
Take  from  man  his  selfish  propensities,  and  he  can  have 
nothing  to  seduce  him  from  the  practice  of  virtue.  Or  sub 
due  those  propensities  by  education,  instruction  or  restraint, 
and  virtue  remains  without  a  competitor.  Egoism,  in  a 
broader  sense,  has  been  thus  presented  as  the  source  of 
moral  action.  It  has  been  said  that  we  feed  the  hungry, 
clothe  the  naked,  bind  up  the  wounds  of  the  man  beaten 
by  thieves,  pour  oil  and  wine  into  them,  set  him  on  our 
own  beast  and  bring  him  to  the  inn,  because  we  receive 
ourselves  pleasure  from  these  acts.  .  .  .  These  good  acts 
give  us  pleasure,  but  how  happens  it  that  they  give  us 
pleasure?  Because  nature  hath  implanted  in  our  breasts  a 
love  of  others,  a  sense  of  duty  to  them,  a  moral  instinct, 
in  short,  which  prompts  us  irresistibly  to  feel  and  to 
succor  their  distresses.  .  .  .  The  Creator  would  indeed 
have  been  a  bungling  artist,  had  he  intended  man  for  a 
social  animal,  without  planting  in  him  social  dispositions. 
It  is  true  they  are  not  planted  in  every  man,  because  there 
is  no  rule  without  exceptions ;  but  it  is  false  reasoning  which 
converts  exceptions  into  the  general  rule.  Some  men  are 
born  without  the  organs  of  sight,  or  of  hearing,  or  without 
hands.  Yet  it  would  be  wrong  to  say  that  man  is  born 



without  these  faculties,  and  sight,  hearing,  and  hands  may 
with  truth  enter  into  the  general  definition  of  man. 

The  want  or  imperfection  of  the  moral  sense  in  some 
men,  like  the  want  or  imperfection  of  the  senses  of  sight 
and  hearing  in  others,  is  no  proof  that  it  is  a  general  char 
acteristic  of  the  species.  When  it  is  wanting,  we  endeavor 
to  supply  the  defect  by  education,  by  appeals  to  reason  and 
calculation,  by  presenting  to  the  being  so  unhappily  con 
formed,  other  motives  to  do  good  and  to  eschew  evil,  such 
as  tLe  lov  ,  or  the  hatred,  or  rejection  of  those  among  whom 
he  lives,  and  whose  society  is  necessary  to  his  happiness  and 
even  existence ;  demonstrations  by  sound  calculation  that 
honesty  promotes  interest  in  the  long  run;  the  rewards  and 
penalties  established  by  the  laws ;  and  ultimately  the  pros 
pects  of  a  future  state  of  retribution  for  the  evil  as  well 
as  the  good  done  while  here.  These  are  the  correctives 
which  are  supplied  by  education,  and  which  exercise  the 
functions  of  the  moralist,  the  preacher,  and  legislator;  and 
they  lead  into  a  course  of  correct  action  all  those  whose 
disparity  is  not  too  profound  to  be  eradicated.  Some  have 
argued  against  the  existence  of  a  moral  sense,  by  saying 
that  if  nature  had  given  us  such  a  sense,  impelling  us 
to  virtuous  actions,  and  warning  us  against  those  which  are 
vicious,  then  nature  would  also  have  designated,  by  some 
particular  ear-marks,  the  two  sets  of  actions  which  are,  in 
themselves,  the  one  virtuous  and  the  other  vicious.  V»"here- 
as,  we  find,  in  fact,  that  the  same  actions  are  deemed  virt 
uous  in  one  country  and  vicious  in  another.  The  answer 
is,  that  nature  has  constituted  utility  to  man,  the  standard 
and  test  of  virtue.  Men  living  in  different  countries,  under 
different  circumstances,  different  habits  and  regimens,  may 
have  different  utilities;  the  same  act,  therefore,  may  be 
useful,  and  consequently  virtuous  in  one  country  which  is 
injurious  and  vicious  in  another  differently  circumstanced. 



I  sincerely,  then,  believe  with  you  in  the  general  existence 
of  a  moral  instinct.  I  think  it  the  brightest  gem  with  which 
the  human  character  is  studded,  and  the  want  of  it  as  more 
degrading  than  the  most  hideous  of  the  bodily  deformities. 

Comparison   of  Great  Britain  and  the    United 


To  Dr.  Thomas  Cooper 

MOXTICELLO,  September  10,   1814. 

A  comparison  of  the  conditions  of  Great  Britain  and 
the  United  States,  which  is  the  subject  of  your  letter 
of  August  17th,  would  be  an  interesting  theme  indeed. 
To  discuss  it  minutely  and  demonstratively  would  be  far 
beyond  the  limits  of  a  letter.  I  will  give  you,  therefore, 
in  brief  only,  the  result  of  my  reflections  on  the  subject. 
I  agree  with  you  in  your  facts,  and  in  many  of  your  re 
flections.  My  conclusion  is  without  doubt,  as  I  am  sure 
yours  will  be,  when  the  appeal  to  your  sound  judgment  is 
seriously  made.  The  population  of  England  is  composed 
of  three  descriptions  of  persons  (for  those  of  minor  note 
are  too  inconsiderable  to  affect  a  general  estimate).  These 
are,  1.  The  aristocracy,  comprehending  the  nobility,  the 
wealthy  commoners,  the  high  grades  of  priesthood,  and  the 
officers  of  government.  2.  The  laboring  class.  3.  The  elee 
mosynary  class,  or  paupers,  who  are  about  one-fifth  of  the 
whole.  The  aristocracy,  which  have  the  laws  and  govern 
ment  in  their  hands,  have  so  managed  them  as  to  reduce  the 
third  description  below  the  means  of  supporting  life,  even 
by  labor;  and  to  force  the  second,  whether  employed  in 
agriculture  or  the  arts,  to  the  maximum  of  labor  which  the 
construction  of  the  human  body  can  endure,  and  to  the 
minimum  of  food,  and  of  the  meanest  kind,  which  will 



preserve  it  in  life,  and  in  strength  sufficient  to  perform  its 
functions.  To  obtain  food  enough,  and  clothing,  not  only 
their  whole  strength  must  be  unremittingly  exerted,  but  the 
utmost  dexterity  also  which  they  can  acquire;  and  those  of 
great  dexterity  only  can  keep  their  ground,  while  those  of 
less  must  sink  into  the  class  of  paupers.  Nor  is  it  manual 
dexterity  alone,  but  the  acutest  resources  of  the  mind  also 
which  are  impressed  into  this  struggle  for  life;  and  such  as 
have  means  a  little  above  the  rest,  as  the  master-workmen, 
for  instance,  must  strengthen  themselves  by  acquiring  as 
much  of  the  philosophy  of  their  trade  as  will  enable  them  to 
compete  with  their  rivals,  and  keep  themselves  above  ground. 
Hence  the  industry  and  manual  dexterity  of  their  journey 
men  and  day-laborers,  and  the  science  of  their  master-work 
men,  keep  them  in  the  foremost  ranks  of  competition  with 
those  of  other  nations;  and  the  less  dexterous  individuals, 
falling  into  the  eleemosynary  ranks,  furnish  materials  for 
armies  and  navies  to  defend  their  country,  exercise  piracy 
on  the  ocean,  and  carry  conflagration,  plunder  and  devasta 
tion,  on  the  shores  of  all  those  who  endeavor  to  withstand 
their  aggressions.  A  society  thus  constituted  possesses  cer 
tainly  the  means  of  defence.  But  what  does  it  defend? 
The  pauperism  of  the  lowest  class,  the  abject  oppression 
of  the  laboring,  and  the  luxury,  the  riot,  the  domination  and 
the  vicious  happiness  of  the  aristocracy.  In  their  hands, 
the  paupers  are  used  as  tools  to  maintain  their  own  wretch 
edness,  and  to  keep  down  the  laboring  portion  by  shooting 
them  whenever  the  desperation  produced  by  the  cravings  of 
their  stomachs  drives  them  into  riots.  Such  is  the  happi 
ness  of  scientific  England;  now  let  us  see  the  American  side 
of  the  medal. 

And,  first,  we  have  no  paupers,  the  old  and  crippled 
among  us,  who  possess  nothing  and  have  no  families  to  take 
care  of  them,  being  too  few  to  merit  notice  as  a  separate 



section  of  society,  or  to  affect  a  general  estimate.  The 
great  mass  of  our  population  is  of  laborers;  our  rich,  who 
can  live  without  labor,  either  manual  or  professional,  being 
few,  and  of  moderate  wealth.  Most  of  the  laboring  class 
possess  property,  cultivate  their  own  lands,  have  families, 
and  from  the  demand  for  their  labor  are  enabled  to  exact 
from  the  rich  and  the  competent  such  prices  as  enable  them 
to  be  fed  abundantly,  clothed  above  mere  decency,  to  labor 
moderately  and  raise  their  families.  They  are  not  driven 
to  the  ultimate  resources  of  dexterity  and  skill,  because  their 
wares  will  sell  although  not  quite  so  nice  as  those  of  Eng 
land.  The  wealthy,  on  the  other  hand,  and  those  at  their 
ease,  know  nothing  of  what  the  Europeans  call  luxury. 
They  have  only  somewhat  more  of  the  comforts  and  de 
cencies  of  life  than  those  who  furnish  them.  Can  any 
condition  of  society  be  more  desirable  than  this  ?  Nor  in 
the  class  of  laborers  do  I  mean  to  withhold  from  the  com 
parison  that  portion  whose  color  has  condemned  them,  in 
certain  parts  of  our  Union,  to  a  subjection  to  the  will  of 
others.  Even  these  are  better  fed  in  these  States,  warmer 
clothed,  and  labor  less  than  the  journeymen  or  day-laborers 
of  England.  They  have  the  comfort,  too,  of  numerous 
families,  in  the  midst  of  whom  they  live  without  want,  or 
fear  of  it;  a  solace  which  few  of  the  laborers  of  England 
possess.  They  are  subject,  it  is  true,  to  bodily  coercion; 
but  are  not  the  hundreds  of  thousands  of  British  soldiers 
and  seamen  subject  to  the  same,  without  seeing,  at  the  end 
of  their  career,  when  age  and  accident  shall  have  rendered 
them  unequal  to  labor,  the  certainty,  which  the  other  has, 
that  he  will  never  want?  And  has  not  the  British  seaman, 
as  much  as  the  African,  been  reduced  to  this  bondage  by 
force,  in  flagrant  violation  of  his  own  consent,  and  of  his 
natural  right  in  his  own  person?  and  with  the  laborers  of 
England  generally,  does  not  the  moral  coercion  of  want 



subject  their  will  as  despotically  to  that  of  their  employer, 
as  the  physical  constraint  does  the  soldier,  the  seaman,  or 
the  slave?  But  do  not  mistake  me.  I  am  not  advocating 
slavery.  I  am  not  justifying  the  wrongs  we  have  com 
mitted  on  a  foreign  people,  by  the  example  of  another  na 
tion  committing  equal  wrongs  on  their  own  subjects.  On 
the  contrary,  there  is  nothing  I  would  not  sacrifice  to  a 
practicable  plan  of  abolishing  every  vestige  of  this  moral 
and  political  depravity.  But  I  am  at  present  comparing 
the  condition  and  degree  of  suffering  to  which  oppression 
has  reduced  the  man  of  one  color,  with  the  condition  and 
degree  of  suffering  to  which  oppression  has  reduced  the 
man  of  another  color ;  equally  condemning  both.  Now  let 
us  compute  by  numbers  the  sum  of  happiness  of  the  two 
countries.  In  England,  happiness  is  the  lot  of  the  aristoc 
racy  only,  and  the  proportion  they  bear  to  the  laborers 
and  paupers,  you  know  better  than  I  do.  Were  I  to  guess 
that  they  are  four  in  every  hundred,  then  the  happiness  of 
the  nation  would  be  to  its  misery  as  one  in  twenty-five.  In 
the  United  States  it  is  as  eight  millions  to  zero,  or  as  all 
to  none.  But  it  is  said  they  possess  the  means  of  defence, 
and  that  we  do  not.  How  so  ?  Are  we  not  men  ?  Yes ; 
but  our  men  are  so  happy  at  home  that  they  will  not  hire 
themselves  to  be  shot  at  for  a  shilling  a  day.  Hence  we 
can  have  no  standing  armies  for  defence,  because  we  have 
no  paupers  to  furnish  the  materials.  The  Greeks  and 
Romans  had  no  standing  armies,  yet  they  defended  them 
selves.  The  Greeks  by  their  laws,  and  the  Romans  by  the 
spirit  of  their  people,  took  care  to  put  into  the  hands  of 
their  rulers  no  such  engine  of  oppression  as  a  standing 
army.  Their  system  was  to  make  every  man  a  soldier,  and 
oblige  him  to  repair  to  the  standard  of  his  country  when 
ever  that  was  reared.  This  made  them  invincible ;  and  the 
same  remedy  will  make  us  so. 



To  Dr.   Thomas  Cooper 

MOXTICELLO,  October  7,  1814. 

I  agree  with  yours  of  the  22d,  that  a  professorship  of 
Theology  should  have  no  place  in  our  institution.  But 
we  cannot  always  do  what  is  absolutely  best.  Those  with 
whom  we  act,  entertaining  different  views,  have  the  power 
and  the  right  of  carrying  -them  into  practice.  Truth  ad 
vances,  and  error  recedes  step  by  step  only;  and  to  do  to 
our  fellow  men  the  most  good  in  our  power,  we  must  lead 
where  we  can,  follow  where  we  cannot,  and  still  go  with 
them,  watching  always  the  favorable  moment  for  helping 
them  to  another  step.  Perhaps  I  should  concur  with  you 
also  in  excluding  the  theory  (not  the  practice}  of  medicine. 
This  is  the  charlatanerie  of  the  body,  as  the  other  is  of  the 
mind.  For  classical  learning  I  have  ever  been  a  zealous 
advocate;  and  in  this,  as  in  his  theory  of  bleeding  and 
mercury,  I  was  ever  opposed  to  my  friend  Rush,  whom  I 
greatly  loved ;  but  who  has  done  much  harm,  in  the  sincerest 
persuasion  that  he  was  preserving  life  and  happiness  to 
all  around  him.  I  have  not,  however,  carried  so  far  as  you 
do  my  ideas  of  the  importance  of  a  hypercritical  knowledge 
of  the  Latin  and  Greek  languages.  I  have  believed  it  suf 
ficient  to  possess  a  substantial  understanding  of  their 



On  Banks 

To  Albert  Gallatin 

MONTICELLO,  October  16,  1815. 

We  are  undone,  my  dear  Sir,  if  this  banking  mania 
be  not  suppressed.  Aut  Carthago,  out  Roma  delenda 
est.  The  war,  had  it  proceeded,  would  have  upset  our 
government;  and  a  new  one,  whenever  tried,  will  do  it. 
And  so  it  must  be  while  our  money,  the  nerve  of  war,  is 
much  or  little,  real  or  imaginary,  as  our  bitterest  enemies 
choose  to  make  it.  Put  down  the  banks,  and  if  this  coun 
try  could  not  be  carried  through  the  longest  war  against 
her  most  powerful  enemy,  without  ever  knowing  the  want 
of  a  dollar,  without  dependence  on  the  traitorous  classes  of 
her  citizens,  without  bearing  hard  on  the  resources  of  the 
people,  or  loading  the  public  with  an  indefinite  burden  of 
debt,  I  know  nothing  of  my  countrymen.  Not  by  any 
novel  project,  not  by  any  charlatanerie,  but  by  ordinary  and 
well-experienced  means ;  by  the  total  prohibition  of  all  pri 
vate  paper  at  all  times,  by  reasonable  taxes  in  war  aided  by 
the  necessary  emissions  of  public  paper  of  circulating  size, 
this  bottomed  on  special  taxes,  redeemable  annually  as  this 
special  tax  comes  in,  and  finally  within  a  moderate  period 
— even  with  the  flood  of  private  paper  by  which  we  were 
deluged,  would  the  treasury  have  ventured  its  credit  in  bills 
of  circulating  size,  as  of  five  or  ten  dollars,  etc.,  they  would 
have  been  greedily  received  by  the  people  in  preference  to 
bank  paper.  But  unhappily  the  towns  of  America  were 
considered  as  the  nation  of  America,  the  dispositions  of  the 
inhabitants  of  the  former  as  those  of  the  latter,  and  the 
treasury,  for  want  of  confidence  in  the  country,  delivered 
itself  bound  hand  and  foot  to  bold  and  bankrupt  advent- 



urers  and  pretenders  to  be  money-holders.,  whom  it  could 
have  crushed  at  any  moment.  Even  the  last  half-bold, 
half-timid  threat  of  the  treasury,  showed  at  once  that  these 
jugglers  were  at  the  feet  of  government.  For  it  never  was, 
and  is  not,  any  confidence  in  their  frothy  bubbles,  but  the 
want  of  all  other  medium,  which  induced,  or  now  in vjces, 
the  country  people  to  take  their  paper;  and  at  this  raiment, 
when  nothing  else  is  to  be  had,  no  man  will  receive  it  but  to 
pass  it  away  instantly,  none  for  distant  purposes.  V.Te  are 
now  without  any  common  measure  of  the  value  of  prop 
erty,  and  private  fortunes  are  up  or  down  at  the  will  of 
the  worst  of  our  citizens.  Yet  there  is  no  hope  of  relief 
from  the  legislatures  who  have  immediate  control  over  this 
subject.  As  little  seems  to  be  known  of  the  principles  of 
political  economy  as  if  nothing  had  ever  been  written  or 
practised  on  the  subject,  or  as  was  known  in  old  times,  when 
the  Jews  had  their  rulers  under  the  hammer.  It  is  an  evil, 
therefore,  which  we  must  make  up  our  minds  to  meet  and 
to  endure  as  those  of  hurricanes,  earthquakes  and  other 
casualties:  let  us  turn  over  therefore  another  leaf. 

On  Local  Government 

To  Joseph  C.  Cabell 

MONTICELLO,  February  2,  1816. 

No,  my  friend,  the  way  to  have  good  and  safe  gov 
ernment,  is  not  to  trust  it  all  to  one,  but  to  divide  it 
among  the  many,  distributing  to  every  one  exactly  the 
functions  he  is  competent  to.  Let  the  national  government 
be  intrusted  with  the  defence  of  the  nation,  and  its  foreign 
and  federal  relations ;  the  State  governments  with  the  civil 
rights,  laws,  police,  and  administration  of  what  concerns 



the  State  generally;  the  counties  with  the  local  concerns  of 
the  counties,  and  each  ward  direct  the  interests  within  itself. 
It  is  by  dividing  and  subdividing  these  republics  from  the 
great  national  one  down  through  all  its  subordinations,  until 
it  ends  in  the  administration  of  every  man's  farm  by  him 
self;  by  placing  under  every  one  what  his  own  eye  may 
superintend,  that  all  will  be  done  for  the  best.  What  has 
destroyed  liberty  and  the  rights  of  man  in  every  govern 
ment  which  has  ever  existed  under  the  sun?  The  general 
izing  and  concentrating  all  cares  and  powers  into  one  body, 
no  matter  whether  of  the  autocrats  of  Russia  or  France, 
or  of  the  aristocrats  of  a  Venetian  senate.  And  I  do  be 
lieve  that  if  the  Almighty  has  not  decreed  that  man  shall 
never  be  free  (and  it  is  a  blasphemy  to  believe  it),  that 
the  secret  will  be  found  to  be  in  the  making  himself  the 
depositary  of  the  powers  respecting  himself,  so  far  as  he 
is  competent  to  them,  and  delegating  only  what  is  beyond 
his  competence  by  a  synthetical  process,  to  higher  and 
higher  orders  of  functionaries,  so  as  to  trust  fewer  and 
fewer  powers  in  proportion  as  the  trustees  become  more 
and  more  oligarchical.  The  elementary  republics  of  the 
wards,  the  county  republics,  the  State  republics,  and  the 
republic  of  the  Union,  would  form  a  gradation  of  author 
ities,  standing  each  on  the  basis  of  law,  holding  every  one 
its  delegated  share  of  powers,  and  constituting  truly  a  sys 
tem  of  fundamental  balances  and  checks  for  the  govern 
ment.  Where  every  man  is  a  sharer  in  the  direction  of  his 
ward-republic,  or  of  some  of  the  higher  ones,  and  feels 
that  he  is  a  participator  in  the  government  of  affairs,  not 
merely  at  an  election  one  day  in  the  year,  but  every  day; 
when  there  shall  not  be  a  man  in  the  State  who  will  not 
be  a  member  of  some  one  of  its  councils,  great  or  small,  he 
will  let  the  heart  be  torn  out  of  his  body  sooner  than  his 
power  be  wrested  from  him  by  a  Caesar  or  a  Bonaparte. 



How  powerfully  did  we  feel  the  energy  of  this  organization 
in  the  case  of  embargo?  I  felt  the  foundations  of  the  gov 
ernment  shaken  under  my  feet  by  the  New  England  town 
ships.  There  was  not  an  individual  in  their  States  whose 
body  was  not  thrown  with  all  its  momentum  into  action; 
and  although  the  whole  of  the  other  States  were  known 
to  be  in  favor  of  the  measure,  yet  the  organization  of  this 
little  selfish  minority  enabled  it  to  overrule  the  Union. 
What  would  the  unwieldy  counties  of  the  Middle.,  the  South, 
and  the  West  do?  Call  a  county  meeting,  and  the  drunken 
loungers  at  and  about  the  court-houses  would  have  collected, 
the  distances  being  too  great  for  the  good  people  and  the 
industrious  generally  to  attend.  The  character  of  those 
who  really  met  would  have  been  the  measure  of  the  weight 
they  would  have  had  in  the  scale  of  public  opinion.  As 
Cato,  then,  concluded  every  speech  with  the  words,  "Car 
thago  delenda  est,"  so  do  I  every  opinion,  with  the  injunc 
tion,  "divide  the  counties  into  wards."  Begin  them  only 
for  a  single  purpose;  they  will  soon  show  for  what  others 
they  are  the  best  instruments. 

On  Aiding  the  South  American  Colonies  of  Spain 

To  James  Monroe 

MONTICELLO,  February  4,  1816. 

The  ground  you  have  taken  with  Spain  is  sound  in 
every  part.  It  is  the  true  ground,  especially,  as  to  the 
South  Americans.  When  subjects  are  able  to  maintain 
themselves  in  the  field,  they  are  then  an  independent  power 
as  to  all  neutral  nations,  are  entitled  to  their  commerce,  and 
to  protection  within  their  limits.  Every  kindness  which  can 
be  shown  the  South  Americans,  every  friendly  office  and  aid 



within  the  limits  of  the  law  of  nations,  I  would  extend  to 
them,  without  fearing  Spain  or  her  Swiss  auxiliaries.  For 
this  is  but  an  assertion  of  our  own  independence.  But  to 
join  in  their  war,  as  General  Scott  proposes,  and  to  which 
even  some  members  of  Congress  seem  to  squint,  is  what  we 
ought  not  to  do  as  yet.  On  the  question  ot  our  interest  in 
their  independence,  were  that  alone  a  sufficient  motive  of 
action,  much  may  be  said  on  both  sides.  When  they  are 
free,  they  will  drive  every  article  of  our  produce  from  every 
market,  by  underselling  it,  and  change  the  condition  of  our 
existence,  forcing  us  into  other  habits  and  pursuits.  We 
shall,  indeed,  have  in  exchange  some  commerce  with  them, 
but  in  what  I  know  not,  for  we  shall  have  nothing  to  offer 
which  they  cannot  raise  cheaper;  and  their  separation  from 
Spain  seals  our  everlasting  peace  with  her.  On  the  other 
hand,  so  long  as  they  are  dependent,  Spain,  from  her  jeal 
ousy,  is  our  natural  enemy,  and  always  in  either  open  or 
secret  hostility  with  us.  These  countries,  too,  in  war,  will 
be  a  powerful  weight  in  her  scale,  and,  in  peace,  totally 
shut  to  us.  Interest  then,  on  the  whole,  would  wish  their 
independence,  and  justice  makes  the  wish  a  duty.  They 
have  a  right  to  be  free,  and  we  a  right  to  aid  them,  as  a 
strong  man  has  a  right  to  assist  a  weak  one  assailed  by 
a  robber  or  murderer.  That  a  war  is  brewing  between  us 
and  Spain  cannot  be  doubted.  When  that  disposition  is 
matured  on  both  sides,  and  open  rupture  can  no  longer  be 
deferred,  then  will  be  the  time  for  our  joining  the  South 
Americans,  and  entering  into  treaties  of  alliance  with  them. 
There  will  then  be  but  one  opinion,  at  home  or  abroad,  that 
we  shall  be  justifiable  in  choosing  to  have  them  with  us, 
rather  than  against  us.  In  the  meantime,  they  will  have 
organized  regular  governments,  and  perhaps  have  formed 
themselves  into  one  or  more  confederacies;  more  than  one 
I  hope,  as  in  single  mass  they  would  be  a  very  formidable 



neighbor.  The  geography  of  their  country  seems  to  indi 
cate  three:  1.  What  is  north  of  the  Isthmus.  2.  What  is 
south  of  it  on  the  Atlantic;  and  3.  The  southern  part  on 
the  Pacific.  Jn  this  form,  we  might  be  the  balancing  power. 

On  the  Philosophy  of  Life 

To  John  Adams 

MONTICELLO,  April  8,  1816. 

You  ask,  if  I  would  agree  to  live  my  seventy  or  rather 
seventy-three  years  over  again?  To  which  I  say,  yea.  I 
think  with  you,  that  it  is  a  good  world  on  the  whole;  that 
it  has  been  framed  on  a  principle  of  benevolence,  and 
more  pleasure  than  pain  dealt  out  to  us.  There  are,  indeed, 
(who  might  say  nay)  gloomy  and  hypochondriac  minds,  in 
habitants  of  diseased  bodies,  disgusted  with  the  present,  and 
despairing  of  the  future;  always  counting  that  the  worst 
will  happen,  because  it  may  happen.  To  these  I  say,  how 
much  pain  have  cost  us  the  evils  which  have  never  hap 
pened  !  My  temperament  is  sanguine.  I  steer  my  bark 
with  Hope  in  the  head,  leaving  Fear  astern.  My  hopes, 
indeed,  sometimes  fail;  but  not  oftener  than  the  forebod 
ings  of  the  gloomy.  There  are,  I  acknowledge,  even  in  the 
happiest  life,  some  terrible  convulsions,  heavy  set-offs 
against  the  opposite  page  of  the  account.  I  have  often 
wondered  for  what  good  end  the  sensations  of  grief  could 
be  intended.  All  our  other  passions,  within  proper  bounds, 
have  an  useful  object.  And  the  perfection  of  the  moral 
character  is,  not  in  a  stoical  apathy,  so  hypocritically 
vaunted,  and  so  untruly  too,  because  impossible,  but  in  a 
just  equilibrium  of  all  the  passions.  I  wish  the  pathol- 
ogists  then,  would  tell  us  what  is  the  use  of  grief  in  the 



economy,  and  of  what  good  it  is  the  cause,  proximate  or 

On  Educational  Qualifications 

To  Monsieur  Dupont  de  Nemours 

POPLAR  FOREST,  April  24,  1816. 

In  the  Constitution  of  Spain,  as  proposed  by  the  late 
Cortes,  there  was  a  principle  entirely  new  to  me,  and 
not  noticed  in  yours,  that  no  person,  born  after  that 
day,  should  ever  acquire  the  rights  of  citizenship  until  he 
could  read  and  write.  It  is  impossible  sufficiently  to  esti 
mate  the  wisdom  of  this  provision.  Of  all  those  which  have 
been  thought  of  for  securing  fidelity  in  the  administration 
of  the  government,  constant  ralliance  to  the  principles  of 
the  Constitution,  and  progressive  amendments  with  the  pro 
gressive  advances  of  the  human  mind,  or  changes  in  hu 
man  affairs,  it  is  the  most  effectual.  Enlighten  the  people 
generally,  and  tyranny  and  oppressions  of  body  and  mind 
will  vanish  like  evil  spirits  at  the  dawn  of  day.  Although 
I  do  not,  with  some  enthusiasts,  believe  that  the  human  con 
dition  will  ever  advance  to  such  a  state  of  perfection  as 
that  there  shall  no  longer  be  pain  or  vice  in  the  world, 
yet  I  believe  it  susceptible  of  much  improvement,  and  most 
of  all,  in  matters  of  government  and  religion;  and  that  the 
diffusion  of  knowledge  among  the  people  is  to  be  the  in 
strument  by  which  it  is  to  be  effected. 


On  the  True  Republic 

To  John   Taylor 

MONTICELLO,  May  28,  1816. 

It  must  be  acknowledged,  that  the  term  republic  is  of 
very  vague  application  in  every  language.  Witness  the 
self-styled  republics  of  Holland,  Switzerland,  Genoa, 
Venice,  Poland.  Were  I  to  assign  to  this  term  a  pre 
cise  and  definite  idea,  I  would  say,  purely  and  simply, 
it  means  a  government  by  its  citizens  in  mass,  acting  di 
rectly  and  personally,  according  to  rules  established  by  the 
majority;  and  that  every  other  government  is  more  or  less 
republican  in  proportion,  as  it  has  in  its  composition  more 
or  less  of  this  ingredient  of  the  direct  action  of  the  citizens. 
Such  a  government  is  evidently  restrained  to  very  narrow 
limits  of  space  and  population.  I  doubt  if  it  would  be 
practicable  beyond  the  extent  of  a  New  England  township. 
The  first  shade  from  this  pure  element,  which,  like  that  of 
pure  vital  air,  cannot  sustain  life  of  itself,  would  be  where 
the  powers  of  the  government,  being  divided,  should  be  ex 
ercised  each  by  representatives  chosen  either  pro  hac  vice, 
or  for  such  short  terms  as  should  render  secure  the  duty  of 
expressing  the  will  of  their  constituents.  This  I  should 
consider  as  the  nearest  approach  to  a  pure  republic,  which 
is  practicable  on  a  large  scale  of  country  or  population. 
And  we  have  examples  of  it  in  some  of  our  State  Constitu 
tions,  which,  if  not  poisoned  by  priest-craft,  would  prove  its 
excellence  over  all  mixtures  with  other  elements;  and,  with 
only  equal  doses  of  poison,  would  still  be  the  best.  Other 
shades  of  republicanism  may  be  found  in  other  forms  of 
government,  where  the  executive,  judiciary  and  legislative 
functions,  and  the  different  branches  of  the  latter,  are 
chosen  by  the  people  more  or  less  directly,  for  longer  terms 



of  years,  or  for  life,  or  made  hereditary ;  or  where  there  are 
mixtures  of  authorities,  some  dependent  on,  and  others  in 
dependent  of  the  people.  The  further  the  departure  from 
direct  and  constant  control  by  the  citizens,  the  less  has  the 
government  of  the  ingredient  of  republicanism;  evidently 
none  where  the  authorities  are  hereditary,  as  in  France, 
Venice,  etc.,  or  self-chosen,  as  in  Holland;  and  little,  where 
for  life,  in  proportion  as  the  life  continues  in  being  after 
the  act  of  election. 

The  purest  republican  feature  in  the  government  of  our 
own  State,  is  the  House  of  Representatives.  The  Senate  is 
equally  so  the  first  year,  less  the  second,  and  so  on.  The 
Executive  still  less,  because  not  chosen  by  the  people  di 
rectly.  The  Judiciary  seriously  anti-republican,  because 
for  life;  and  the  national  arm  wielded,  as  you  observe,  by 
military  leaders,  irresponsible  but  to  themselves.  Add  to 
this  the  vicious  constitution  of  our  county  courts  (to  whom 
the  justice,  the  executive  administration,  the  taxation,  police, 
the  military  appointments  of  the  county,  and  nearly  all  our 
daily  concerns  are  confided),  self-appointed,  self -continued, 
holding  their  authorities  for  life,  and  with  an  impossibility 
of  breaking  in  on  the  perpetual  succession  of  any  faction 
once  possessed  of  the  bench.  They  are  in  truth,  the  execu 
tive,  the  j  udiciary,  and  the  military  of  their  respective  coun 
ties,  and  the  sum  of  the  counties  makes  the  State.  And  add, 
also,  that  one-half  of  our  brethren  who  fight  and  pay  taxes, 
are  excluded,  like  Helots,  from  the  rights  of  representation, 
as  if  society  were  instituted  for  the  soil,  and  not  for  the 
men  inhabiting  it;  or  one-half  of  these  could  dispose  of  the 
rights  and  the  will  of  the  other  half,  without  their  consent. 

"What  constitutes  a  State? 
Not  high-raised  battlements,  or  labor'd  mound, 

Thick  wall,  or  moated  gate  ; 

Not  cities  proud,  with  spires  and  turrets  crown'd  ; 


No  :  men,  high-minded  men  ; 
Men,  who  their  duties  know  ; 

But  know  their  rights  ;  and  knowing,  dare  maintain. 
These  constitute  a  S^ate." 

In  the  General  Government,  the  House  of  Representa 
tives  is  mainly  republican;  the  Senate  scarcely  so  at  all,  as 
not  elected  by  the  people  directly,  and  so  long  secured  even 
against  those  who  do  elect  them;  the  Executive  more  re 
publican  than  the  Senate,  from  its  shorter  term,  its  election 
by  the  people,  in  practice,  (for  they  vote  for  A  only  on  an 
assurance  that  he  will  vote  for  B),  and  because,  in  practice 
also,  a  principle  of  rotation  seems  to  be  in  a  course  of  estab 
lishment;  the  judiciary  independent  of  the  nation,  their  co 
ercion  by  impeachment  being  found  nugatory. 

If,  then,  the  control  of  the  people  over  the  organs  of 
their  government  be  the  measure  of  its  republicanism,  and 
I  confess  I  know  no  other  measure,  it  must  be  agreed  that 
our  governments  have  much  less  of  republicanism  than 
ought  to  have  been  expected;  in  other  words,  that  the  peo 
ple  have  less  regular  control  over  their  agents,  than  their 
rights  and  their  interests  require.  And  this  I  ascribe,  not 
to  any  want  of  republican  dispositions  in  those  who  formed 
these  Constitutions,  but  to  a  submission  of  true  principle 
to  European  authorities,  to  speculators  on  government, 
whose  fears  of  the  people  have  been  inspired  by  the  popu 
lace  of  their  own  great  cities,  and  were  unjustly  entertained 
against  the  independent,  the  happy,  and  therefore  orderly 
citizens  of  the  United  States.  Much  I  apprehend  that  the 
golden  moment  is  past  for  reforming  these  heresies.  The 
functionaries  of  public  power  rarely  strengthen  in  their 
dispositions  to  abridge  it,  and  an  unorganized  call  for 
timely  amendment  is  not  likely  to  prevail  against  an  or 
ganized  opposition  to  it.  We  are  always  told  that  things 
are  going  on  well;  why  change  them?  "Chi  sta  bene,  non 



si  muove,"  said  the  Italian,  "let  him  who  stands  well,  stand 
still."  This  is  true;  and  I  verily  believe  they  would  go 
on  well  with  us  under  an  absolute  monarch,  while  our  pres 
ent  character  remains,  of  order,  industry  and  love  of  peace, 
and  restrained,  as  he  would  be,  by  the  proper  spirit  of  the 
people.  But  it  is  while  it  remains  such,  we  should  provide 
against  the  consequences  of  its  deterioration.  And  let  us 
rest  in  the  hope  that  it  will  yet  be  done,  and  spare  our 
selves  the  pain  of  evils  which  may  never  happen. 

On  this  view  of  the  import  of  the  term  republic,  instead 
of  saying,  as  has  been  said,  "that  it  may  mean  anything 
or  nothing,"  we  may  say  with  truth  and  meaning,  that  gov 
ernments  are  more  or  less  republican,  as  they  have  more  or 
less  of  the  element  of  popular  election  and  control  in  their 
composition ;  and  believing,  as  I  do,  that  the  mass  of  the 
citizens  io  the  safest  depositary  of  their  own  rights  and 
especially,  that  the  evils  flowing  from  the  duperies  of  the 
people,  are  less  injurious  than  those  from  the  egoism  of 
their  agents,  I  am  a  friend  to  that  composition  of  govern 
ment  which  has  in  it  the  most  of  this  ingredient.  And  I 
sincerely  believe,  with  you,  that  banking  establishments  are 
more  dangerous  than  standing  armies;  and  that  the  prin 
ciple  of  spending  money  to  be  paid  by  posterity,  under  the 
name  of  funding,  is  but  swindling  futurity  on  a  large 

Concerning  Ms  Religion 

To  Mrs.  M.  Harrison  Smith 

MONTICELLO,  August  6,  181 6. 

I  have  ever  thought  religion  a  concern  purely  between 
our    God    and    our    consciences,    for    which    we    were    ac- 



countable  to  Him,  and  not  to  the  priests.  I  never  told 
my  own  religion,  nor  scrutinized  that  of  another.  I  never 
attempted  to  make  a  convert,  nor  wished  to  change  an 
other's  creed.  I  have  ever  judged  of  the  religion  of  others 
by  their  lives,  and  by  this  test,  my  dear  Madam,  I  have 
been  satisfied  yours  must  be  an  excellent  one,  to  have  pro 
duced  a  life  of  such  exemplary  virtue  and  correctness.  For 
it  is  in  our  lives,  and  not  from  our  words,  that  our  religion 
must  be  read.  By  the  same  test  the  world  must  judge  me. 

On  Slavery 

To  Dr.  Thomas  Humphreys 

MONTICELLO,  February  8,  1817. 

Dear  Sir:  Your  favor  of  January  2d  did  not  come 
to  my  hands  until  the  5th  instant.  I  concur  entirely  in 
your  leading  principles  of  gradual  emancipation,  of  estab 
lishment  on  the  coast  of  Africa,  and  the  patronage  of  our 
nation  until  the  emigrants  shall  be  able  to  protect  them 
selves.  The  subordinate  details  might  be  easily  arranged. 
But  the  bare  proposition  of  purchase  by  the  United  States 
generally,  would  excite  infinite  indignation  in  all  the 
States  north  of  Maryland.  The  sacrifice  must  fall  on  the 
States  alone  which  hold  them ;  and  the  difficult  question  will 
be  how  to  lessen  this  so  as  to  reconcile  our  fellow  citizens 
to  it.  Personally  I  am  ready  and  desirous  to  make  any 
sacrifice  which  shall  insure  their  gradual  but  complete  re 
tirement  from  the  State,  and  effectually,  at  the  same  time, 
establish  them  elsewhere  in  freedom  and  safety.  But  I 
have  not  perceived  the  growth  of  this  disposition  in  the 
rising  generation,  of  which  I  once  had  sanguine  hopes.  No 
symptoms  inform  me  that  it  will  take  place  in  my  day. 



I  leave  it,  therefore,  to  time,  and  not  at  all  without  hope 
that  the  day  will  come,  equally  desirable  and  welcome  to  us 
as  to  them.  Perhaps  the  proposition  now  on  the  carpet  at 
Washington  to  provide  an  establishment  on  the  coast  of 
Africa  for  voluntary  emigrations  of  people  of  color,  may 
be  the  corner  stone  of  this  future  edifice.  Praying  for  its 
completion  as  early  as  may  most  promote  the  good  of  all, 
I  salute  you  with  great  esteem  and  respect. 

On  Internal  Improvements 

To  Albert  Gallatin 

MONTICELLO,  June  16,  1817. 

You  will  have  learned  that  an  act  for  internal  im 
provement,  after  passing  both  Houses,  was  negatived  by 
the  President.  The  act  was  founded,  avowedly,  on  the  prin 
ciple  that  the  phrase  in  the  Constitution  which  authorizes 
Congress  "to  lay  taxes,  to  pay  the  debts  and  provide  for 
the  general  welfare/'  was  an  extension  of  the  powers  spe 
cifically  enumerated  to  whatever  would  promote  the  general 
welfare;  and  this,  you  know,  was  the  federal  doctrine. 
Whereas,  our  tenet  ever  was,  and,  indeed,  it  is  almost  the 
only  landmark  which  now  divides  the  federalists  from  the 
republicans,  that  Congress  had  not  unlimited  powers  to  pro 
vide  for  the  general  welfare,  but  were  restrained  to  those 
specifically  enumerated;  and  that,  as  it  was  never  meant 
they  should  provide  for  that  welfare  but  by  the  exercise  of 
the  enumerated  powers,  so  it  could  not  have  been  meant 
they  should  raise  money  for  purposes  which  the  enumera 
tion  did  not  place  under  their  action ;  consequently,  that  the 
specification  of  powers  is  a  limitation  of  the  purposes 
for  which  they  may  raise  money.  J  think  the  passage 



and  rejection  of  this  bill  a  fortunate  incident.  Every  State 
will  certainly  concede  the  power;  and  this  will  be  a  national 
confirmation  of  the  grounds  of  appeal  to  them,  and  will 
settle  forever  the  meaning  of  this  phrase,  which,  by  a  mere 
grammatical  quibble,  has  countenanced  the  General  Gov 
ernment  in  a  claim  of  universal  power.  For  in  the  phrase, 
"to  lay  taxes,  to  pay  the  debts  and  provide  for  the  general 
welfare,"  it  is  a  mere  question  of  syntax,  whether  the  two 
last  infinitives  are  governed  by  the  first  or  are  distinct  and 
co-ordinate  powers ;  a  question  unequivocally  decided  by  the 
exact  definition  of  powers  immediately  following.  It  is 
fortunate  for  another  reason,  as  the  States,  in  conceding 
the  power,  will  modify  it,  either  by  requiring  the  federal 
ratio  of  expense  in  each  State,  or  otherwise,  so  as  to  secure 
us  against  its  partial  exercise.  Without  this  caution,  in 
trigue,  negotiation,  and  the  barter  of  votes  might  become 
as  habitual  in  Congress,  as  they  are  in  those  Legislatures 
which  have  the  appointment  of  officers,  and  which,  with  us, 
is  called  "logging,"  the  term  of  the  farmers  for  their  ex 
changes  of  aid  in  rolling  together  the  logs  of  their  newly- 
cleared  grounds. 

On  the  Tax  on  Wine 

To  M.  de  Neuville 

MONTICELLO,  December  13,  1818. 

I  rejoice,  as  a  moralist,  at  the  prospect  of  a  reduction 
of  the  duties  on  wine,  by  our  national  legislature.  It  is 
an  error  to  view  a  tax  on  that  liquor  as  merely  a  tax  on 
the  rich.  It  is  a  prohibition  of  its  use  to  the  middling 
class  of  our  citizens,  and  a  condemnation  of  them  to  the 
poison  of  whiskey,  which  is  desolating  their  houses.  No 



nation  is  drunken  where  wine  is  cheap;  and  none  sober, 
where  the  dearness  of  wine  substitutes  ardent  spirits  as  the 
common  beverage.  It  is,  in  truth,  the  only  antidote  to  the 
bane  of  whiskey.  Fix  but  the  duty  at  the  rate  of  other 
merchandise,  and  we  can  drink  wine  here  as  cheap  as  we 
do  grog;  and  who  will  not  prefer  it?  Its  extended  use  will 
carry  health  and  comfort  to  a  much  enlarged  circle.  Every 
one  in  easy  circumstances  (as  the  bulk  of  our  citizens  are) 
will  prefer  it  to  the  poison  to  which  they  are  now  driven 
by  their  government.  And  the  treasury  itself  will  find  that 
a  penny  apiece  from  a  dozen,  is  more  than  a  groat  from  a 
single  one. 

Personal  Regimen 

To  Dr.  Vine  Utley 

MONTICELLO,  March  21,  1819- 

Sir:  The  request  of  the  history  of  my  physical  habits 
would  have  puzzled  me  not  a  little,  had  it  not  been  for 
the  model  with  which  you  accompanied  it,  of  Dr.  Rush's 
answer  to  a  similar  inquiry.  I  live  so  much  like  other  peo 
ple,  that  I  might  refer  to  ordinary  life  as  the  history  of 
my  own.  Like  my  friend  the  Doctor,  I  have  lived  tem 
perately,  eating  little  animal  food,  and  that  not  as  an  ali 
ment,  so  much  as  a  condiment  for  the  vegetables,  which 
constitute  my  principal  diet.  I  double  however,  the  Doc 
tor's  glass  and  a  half  of  wine,  and  even  treble  it  with  a 
friend;  but  halve  its  effects  by  drinking  the  weak  wines 
only.  The  ardent  wines  I  cannot  drink,  nor  do  I  use  ardent 
spirits  in  any  form.  Malt  liquors  and  cider  are  my  table 
drinks,  and  my  breakfast,  like  that  also  of  my  friend,  is 
of  tea  and  coffee.  I  have  been  blessed  with  organs  of  di- 



gestion  which  accept  and  concoct,  without  ever  murmuring,, 
whatever  the  palate  chooses  to  consign  to  them,  and  I  have 
not  yet  lost  a  tooth  by  age.  I  was  a  hard  student  until 
I  entered  on  the  business  of  life,  the  duties  of  which  leave 
no  idle  time  to  those  disposed  to  fulfil  them;  and  now, 
retired,  and  at  the  age  of  seventy-six,  I  am  again  a  hard 
student.  Indeed,  my  fondness  for  reading  and  study  re 
volts  me  from  the  drudgery  of  letter- writing.  And  a  stiff 
wrist,  the  consequence  of  an  early  dislocation,  makes  writ 
ing  both  slow  and  painful.  I  am  not  so  regular  in  my  sleep 
as  the  Doctor  says  he  was,  devoting  to  it  from  five  to  eight 
hours,  according  as  my  company  or  the  book  I  am  reading 
interests  me;  and  I  never  go  to  bed  without  an  hour,  or  half 
hour's  previous  reading  of  something  moral  whereon  to 
ruminate  in  the  intervals  of  sleep.  But  whether  I  retire  to 
bed  early  or  late,  I  rise  with  the  sun.  I  use  spectacles  at 
night,  but  not  necessarily  in  the  day,  unless  in  reading  small 
print.  My  hearing  is  distinct  in  particular  conversation, 
but  confused  when  several  voices  cross  each  other,  which 
unfits  me  for  the  society  of  the  table.  I  have  been  more 
fortunate  than  my  friend  in  the  article  of  health.  So  free 
from  catarrhs  that  I  have  not  had  one,  (in  the  breast,  I 
mean)  on  an  average  of  eight  or  ten  years  through  life. 
I  ascribe  this  exemption  partly  to  the  habit  of  bathing  my 
feet  in  cold  water  every  morning,  for  sixty  years  past.  A 
fever  of  more  than  twenty-four  hours  I  have  not  had  above 
two  or  three  times  in  my  life.  A  periodical  headache  has 
afflicted  me  occasionally,  once,  perhaps,  in  six  or  eight  years, 
for  two  or  three  weeks  at  a  time,  which  seems  now  to  have 
left  me;  and  except  on  a  late  occasion  of  indisposition,  I 
enjoy  good  health;  too  feeble,  indeed,  to  walk  much,  but 
riding  without  fatigue  six  or  eight  miles  a  day,  and  some 
times  thirty  or  forty.  I  may  end  these  egotisms,  therefore, 
as  I  began,  by  saying  that  my  life  has  been  so  much  like 



that  of  other  people,  that  I  might  say  with  Horace,  to  every 
one  "nomine  mutato,  narratur  fabula  de  te."  I  must  not 
end,  however,  without  due  thanks  for  the  kind  sentiments 
of  regard  you  are  so  good  as  to  express  toward  myself; 
and  with  my  acknowledgments  for  these,  be  pleased  to 
accept  the  assurances  of  my  respect  and  esteem. 

On  the  Supreme  Court 

To  Judge  Spencer  Roane 

POPLAR  FOREST,  September  6,  1819- 

Dear  Sir:  In  denying  the  right  they  [the  judiciary] 
usurp  of  exclusively  explaining  the  Constitution,  I  go 
further  than  you  do,  if  I  understand  rightly  your  quotation 
from  the  Federalist,  of  an  opinion  that  "the  judiciary  is  the 
last  resort  in  relation  to  the  other  departments  of  the  gov 
ernment,  but  not  in  relation  to  the  rights  of  the  parties 
to  the  compact  under  which  the  judiciary  is  derived."  If 
this  opinion  be  sound,  then  indeed  is  our  Constitution  a  com 
plete  felo  de  se.  For  intending  to  establish  three  depart 
ments,  co-ordinate  and  independent,  that  they  might  check 
and  balance  one  another,  it  has  given,  according  to  this 
opinion,  to  one  of  them  alone,  the  right  to  prescribe  rules 
for  the  government  of  the  others,  and  to  that  one,  too,  which 
is  unelected  by,  and  independent  of  the  nation.  For  ex 
perience  has  already  shown  that  the  impeachment  it  has 
provided  is  not  even  a  scare-crow;  that  such  opinions  as  the 
one  you  combat,  sent  cautiously  out,  as  you  observe  also, 
by  detachment,  not  belonging  to  the  case  often,  but  sought 
for  out  of  it,  as  if  to  rally  the  public  opinion  beforehand 
to  their  views,  and  to  indicate  the  line  they  are  to  walk  in, 
have  been  so  quietly  passed  over  as  never  to  have  excited. 



Animadversion,  even  in  a  speech  of  any  one  of  the  body 
intrusted  with  impeachment.  The  Constitution,  on  this 
hypothesis,  is  a  mere  thing  of  wax  in  the  hands  of  the 
judiciary,  which  they  may  twist  and  shape  into  any  form 
they  please.  It  should  be  remembered,  as  an  axiom  of  eter 
nal  truth  in  politics,  chat  whatever  power  in  any  government 
is  independent,  is  absolute  also;  in  theory  only,  at  first, 
while  the  spirit  of  the  people  is  up,  but  in  practice,  as  fast 
as  that  relaxes.  Independence  can  be  trusted  nowhere  but 
with  the  people  in  mass.  They  are  inherently  independent 
of  all  but  moral  law.  My  construction  of  the  Constitution 
is  very  different  from  that  you  quote.  It  is  that  each  de 
partment  is  truly  independent  of  the  others,  and  has  an 
equal  right  to  decide  for  itself  what  is  the  meaning  of  the 
Constitution  in  the  cases  submitted  to  its  action;  and  espe 
cially,  where  it  is  to  act  ultimately  and  without  appeal. 

On  the  Possibility  of  Secession 

To  John  Holmes 

MONTICELLO,  April  22,  1820. 

I  thank  you,  dear  sir,  for  the  copy  you  have  been  so  kind 
as  to  send  me  of  the  letter  to  your  constituents  on  the  Mis 
souri  question.  It  is  a  perfect  justification  to  them.  I  had 
for  a  long  time  ceased  to  read  newspapers,  or  pay  any 
attention  to  public  affairs,  confident  they  were  in  good 
hands,  and  content  to  be  a  passenger  in  our  bark  to  the 
shore  from  which  I  am  not  distant.  But  this  momentous 
question,  like  a  fire-bell  in  the  night,  awakened  and  filled 
me  with  terror.  I  considered  it  at  once  as  the  knell  of  the 
Union.  It  is  hushed,  indeed,  for  the  moment.  But  this 
is  a  reprieve  only,  not  a  final  sentence.  A  geographical 



line,  coinciding  with  a  marked  principle,  moral  and  politi 
cal,  once  conceived  and  held  up  to  the  angry  passions  of 
men,  will  never  be  obliterated;  and  every  new  irritation  will 
mark  it  deeper  and  deeper.  I  can  say,  with  conscious  truth, 
that  there  is  not  a  man  on  earth  who  would  sacrifice  more 
than  I  would  to  relieve  us  from  this  heavy  reproach,  in 
any  practicable  way.  The  cession  of  that  kind  of  prop 
erty,  for  so  it  is  misnamed,  is  a  bagatelle  which  would  not 
cost  me  a  second  thought,  if,  in  that  way,  a  general  eman 
cipation  and  expatriation  could  be  effected;  and,  gradually, 
and  with  due  sacrifices,  I  think  it  might  be.  But  as  it  is, 
we  have  the  wolf  by  the  ears,  and  we  can  neither  hold  him, 
nor  safely  let  him  go.  Justice  is  in  one  scale,  and  self- 
preservation  in  the  other.  Of  one  thing  I  am  certain,  that 
as  the  passage  of  slaves  from  one  State  to  another,  would 
not  make  a  slave  of  a  single  human  being  who  would  not 
be  so  without  it,  so  their  diffusion  over  a  greater  surface 
would  make  them  individually  happier,  and  proportionally 
facilitate  the  accomplishment  of  their  emancipation,  by 
dividing  the  burden  on  a  greater  number  of  coadjutors.  An 
abstinence  too,  from  this  act  of  power,  would  remove  the 
jealousy  excited  by  the  undertaking  of  Congress  to  regulate 
the  condition  of  the  different  descriptions  of  men  compos 
ing  a  State.  This  certainly  is  the  exclusive  right  of  every 
State,  which  nothing  in  the  Constitution  has  taken  from 
them  and  given  to  the  General  Government.  Could  Con 
gress,  for  example,  say,  that  the  non-freemen  of  Connecti 
cut  shall  be  freemen,  or  that  they  shall  not  emigrate  into 
any  other  State? 

I  regret  that  I  am  now  to  die  in  the  belief,  that  the  use 
less  sacrifice  of  themselves  by  the  generation  of  1776,  to 
acquire  self-government  and  happiness  to  their  country, 
is  to  be  thrown  away  by  the  unwise  and  unworthy  passions 
of  their  sons,  and  that  my  only  consolation  is  to  be,  that 



I  live  not  to  weep  over  it.  If  they  would  but  dispassion 
ately  weigh  the  blessings  they  will  throw  away,  against 
an  abstract  principle  more  likely  to  be  effected  by  union 
than  by  scission,  they  would  pause  before  they  would  per 
petrate  this  act  of  suicide  on  themselves,  and  of  treason 
against  the  hopes  of  the  world.  To  yourself,  as  the  faith 
ful  advocate  of  the  Union,  I  tender  the  offering  of  my  high 
esteem  and  respect. 

On  Religion 

To  William  Short 

MONTICELLO,  August  4,  1820. 

Dear  Sir:  I  owe  you  a  letter  for  your  favor  of  June  the 
29th,  which  was  received  in  due  time;  and  there  being  no 
subject  of  the  day,  of  particular  interest,  I  will  make  this 
a  supplement  to  mine  of  April  the  13th.  My  aim  in  that 
was  to  justify  the  character  of  Jesus  against  the  fictions  of 
His  pseudo-followers,  which  have  exposed  Him  to  the  in 
ference  of  being  an  impostor.  For  if  we  could  believe  that 
He  really  countenanced  the  follies,  the  falsehoods,  and  the 
charlatanisms  which  His  biographers  father  on  Him,  and 
admit  the  misconstructions,  interpolations,  and  theorizations 
of  the  fathers  of  the  earl}r,  and  fanatics  of  the  latter  ages, 
the  conclusion  would  be  irresistible  by  every  sound  mind, 
that  He  was  an  impostor.  I  give  no  credit  to  their  falsifica 
tions  of  His  actions  and  doctrines,  and  to  rescue  His  char 
acter,  the  postulate  in  my  letter  asked  only  what  is  granted 
in  reading  every  other  historian.  .  .  .  This  free  exercise 
of  reason  is  all  I  ask  for  the  vindication  of  the  char 
acter  of  Jesus.  We  find  in  the  writings  of  His  biographers 
matter  of  two  distinct  descriptions.  First,  a  ground-work 



of  vulgar  ignorance,  of  things  impossible,  of  superstitions, 
fanaticisms,  and  fabrications.  Intermixed  with  these, 
again,  are  sublime  ideas  of  the  Supreme  Being,  aphorisms, 
and  precepts  of  the  purest  morality  and  benevolence,  sanc 
tioned  by  a  life  of  humility,  innocence,  and  simplicity  of 
manners,  neglect  of  riches,  absence  of  worldly  ambition 
and  honors,  with  an  eloquence  and  persuasiveness  which 
have  not  been  surpassed.  These  could  not  be  inventions 
of  the  grovelling  authors  who  relate  them.  They  are  far 
beyond  the  powers  of  their  feeble  minds.  They  show  that 
there  was  a  character,  the  subject  of  their  history,  whose 
splendid  conceptions  were  above  all  suspicion  of  being  in 
terpolations  from  their  hands.  Can  we  be  at  a  loss  in 
separating  such  materials,  and  ascribing  each  to  its  genuine 
author?  The  difference  is  obvious  to  the  eye  and  to  the 
understanding,  and  we  may  read  as  we  run  to  each  his 
part;  and  I  will  venture  to  affirm,  that  he  who,  as  I  have 
done,  will  undertake  to  winnow  this  grain  from  the  chaff, 
will  find  it  not  to  require  a  moment's  consideration.  The 
parts  fall  asunder  of  themselves,  as  would  those  of  an 
image  of  metal  and  clay. 

There  are,  I  acknowledge,  passages  not  free  from  ob 
jection,  which  we  may,  with  probability,  ascribe  to  Jesus 
Himself;  but  claiming  indulgence  from  the  circumstances 
under  which  He  acted.  His  object  was  the  reformation 
of  some  articles  in  the  religion  of  the  Jews,  as  taught  by 
Moses.  That  sect  had  presented  for  the  object  of  their 
worship,  a  Being  of  terrific  character,  cruel,  vindictive, 
capricious,  and  unjust.  Jesus,  taking  for  His  type  the 
best  qualities  of  the  human  head  and  heart,  wisdom, 
justice,  goodness,  and  adding  to  them  power,  ascribed  all 
of  these,  but  in  infinite  perfection,  to  the  Supreme  Being, 
and  formed  Him  really  worthy  of  their  adoration.  Moses 
had  either  not  believed  in  a  future  state  of  existence,  or 



liad  not  thought  it  essential  to  be  explicitly  taught  to  his 
people.  Jesus  inculcated  that  doctrine  with  emphasis  and 
precision.  Moses  had  bound  the  Jews  to  many  idle  cere 
monies,  mummeries,  and  observances,  of  no  effect  toward 
producing  the  social  utilities  which  constitute  the  essence  of 
virtue;  Jesus  exposed  their  futility  and  insignificance.  The 
one  instilled  into  his  people  the  most  anti-social  spirit  tow 
ard  other  nations ;  the  other  preached  philanthropy  and 
universal  charity  and  benevolence.  The  office  of  reformer 
of  the  superstitions  of  a  nation,  is  ever  dangerous.  Jesus 
had  to  walk  on  the  perilous  confines  of  reason  and  religion; 
and  a  step  to  right  or  left  might  place  Him  within  the 
grasp  of  the  priests  of  the  superstition,  a  bloodthirsty 
race,  as  cruel  and  remorseless  as  the  Being  whom  they 
represented  as  the  family  God  of  Abraham,  of  Isaac  and 
of  Jacob,  and  the  local  God  of  Israel.  They  were  con 
stantly  laying  snares,  too,  to  entangle  Him  in  the  web  of 
the  law.  He  was  justifiable,  therefore,  in  avoiding  these 
by  evasions,  by  sophisms,  by  misconstructions  and  misap 
plications  of  scraps  of  the  prophets,  and  in  defending 
Himself  with  these  their  own  weapons,  as  sufficient,  ad 
homines,  at  least.  That  Jesus  did  not  mean  to  impose 
Himself  on  mankind  as  the  Son  of  God,  physically  speak 
ing,  I  have  been  convinced  by  the  writings  of  men  more 
learned  than  myself  in  that  lore.  But  that  He  might  con 
scientiously  believe  himself  inspired  from  above,  is  very 
possible.  The  whole  religion  of  the  Jew,  inculcated  on 
Him  from  His  infancy,  was  founded  in  the  belief  of  divine 
inspiration.  The  fumes  of  the  most  disordered  imagina 
tions  were  recorded  in  their  religious  code,  as  special  com 
munications  of  the  Deity;  and  as  it  could  not  but  happen 
that,  in  the  course  of  ages,  events  would  now  and  then 
turn  up  to  which  some  of  these  vague  rhapsodies  might 
be  accommodated  by  the  aid  of  allegories,  figures,  types, 



and  other  tricks  upon  words,  they  have  not  only  preserved 
their  credit  with  the  Jews  of  all  subsequent  times,  but 
are  the  foundation  of  much  of  the  religions  of  those  who 
have  schismatized  from  them.  Elevated  by  the  enthusiasm 
of  a  warm  and  pure  heart,  conscious  of  the  high  strains 
of  an  eloquence  which  had  not  been  taught  Him,  He  might 
readily  mistake  the  coruscations  of  His  own  fine  genius 
for  inspirations  of  a  higher  order.  This  belief  carried, 
therefore,  no  more  personal  imputation,  than  the  belief  of 
Socrates,  that  himself  was  under  the  care  and  admonitions 
of  a  guardian  Daemon.  And  how  many  of  our  wisest  men 
still  believe  in  the  reality  of  these  inspirations,  while  per 
fectly  sane  on  all  other  subjects.  Excusing,  therefore,  on 
these  considerations,  those  passages  in  the  Gospels  which 
seem  to  bear  marks  of  weakness  in  Jesus,  ascribing  to  Him 
what  alone  is  consistent  with  the  great  and  pure  character 
of  which  the  same  writings  furnish  proofs,  and  to  their 
proper  authors  their  own  trivialities  and  imbecilities,  I 
think  myself  authorized  to  conclude  the  purity  and  distinc 
tion  of  His  character,  in  opposition  to  the  impostures  which 
those  authors  would  fix  upon  Him;  and  that  the  postulate 
of  my  former  letter  is  no  more  than  is  granted  in  all  other 
historical  works. 

On  the  Spoils  System 

To  James  Madison 

POPLAR  FOREST,  November  29,  1820. 
Dear  Sir:  The  enclosed  letter  ...  is  a  sample  of  the 
effects  we  may  expect  from  the  late  mischievous  law  vacat 
ing  every  four  years  nearly  all  the  executive  offices  of  the 
government.     It  saps  the  constitutional  and  salutary  func- 



tions  of  the  President,  and  introduces  a  principle  of  in 
trigue  and  corruption,  which  will  soon  leaven  the  mass,  not 
only  of  Senators,  but  of  citizens.  It  is  more  baneful  than 
the  attempt  which  failed  in  the  beginning  of  the  govern 
ment,  to  make  all  officers  irremovable  but  with  the  consent 
of  the  Senate.  This  places,  every  four  years,  all  appoint 
ments  under  their  power,  and  even  obliges  them  to  act  on 
every  one  nomination.  It  will  keep  in  constant  excitement 
all  the  hungry  cormorants  for  office,  render  them,  as  well 
as  those  in  place,  sycophants  to  their  Senators,  engage 
these  in  eternal  intrigue  to  turn  out  one  and  put  in  an 
other,  in  cabals  to  swap  work;  and  make  of  them  what  all 
executive  directories  become,  mere  sinks  of  corruption  and 
faction.  This  must  have  been  one  of  the  midnight  signa 
tures  of  the  President,  when  he  had  not  time  to  consider, 
or  even  to  read  the  law;  and  the  more  fatal  as  being  ir- 
repealable  but  with  the  consent  of  the  Senate,  which  will 
never  be  obtained. 

On  the  Kentucky  Resolutions 

To  Mr.  Nicholas 

MONTICELLO,  December  11,  1821. 

Dear  Sir:  Your  letter  of  December  the  19th  places  me 
under  a  dilemma,  which  I  cannot  solve  but  by  an  exposi 
tion  of  the  naked  truth.  I  would  have  wished  this  rather 
to  have  remained  as  hitherto,  without  inquiry;  but  your 
inquiries  have  a  right  to  be  answered.  I  will  do  it  as 
exactly  as  the  great  lapse  of  time  and  a  waning  memory 
will  enable  me.  I  may  misremember  indifferent  circum 
stances,  but  can  be  right  in  substance. 

At  the  time  when  the  republicans  of  our  country  were 


so  much  alarmed  at  the  proceedings  of  the  federal  ascend 
ancy  in  Congress,  in  the  executh  e  and  the  judiciary  de 
partments,  it  became  a  matter  of  serious  consideration  how 
head  could  be  made  against  their  enterprises  on  the  Con 
stitution.  The  leading  republicans  in  Congress  found 
themselves  of  no  use  there,  browbeaten,  as  they  were,  by 
a  bold  and  overwhelming  majority.  They  concluded  to 
retire  from  that  field,  take  a  stand  in  the  State  legisla 
tures,  and  endeavor  there  to  arrest  their  progress.  The 
alien  and  sedition  laws  furnished  the  particular  occasion. 
The  sympathy  between  Virginia  and  Kentucky  was  more 
cordial,  and  more  intimately  confidential,  than  between  any 
other  two  States  of  republican  policy.  Mr.  Madison  came 
into  the  Virginia  legislature.  I  was  then  in  the  Vice- 
Presidency,  and  could  not  leave  my  station.  But  your 
father,  Colonel  W.  C.  Nicholas,  and  myself  happening  to 
be  together,  the  engaging  the  co-operation  of  Kentucky  in 
an  energetic  protestation  against  the  constitutionality  of 
those  laws,  became  a  subject  of  consultation.  Those  gen 
tlemen  pressed  me  strongly  to  sketch  resolutions  for  that 
purpose,  your  father  undertaking  to  introduce  them  to  that 
legislature,  with  a  solemn  assurance,  which  I  strictly  re 
quired,  that  it  should  not  be  known  from  what  quarter  they 
came.  I  drew  and  delivered  them  to  him,  and  in  keej)ing 
their  origin  secret,  he  fulfilled  his  pledge  of  honor.  Some 
years  after  this,  Colonel  Nicholas  asked  me  if  I  would  have 
any  objection  to  its  being  known  that  I  had  drawn  them. 
I  pointedly  enjoined  that  it  should  not.  Whether  he  had 
unguardedly  intimated  it  before  to  any  one,  I  know  not; 
but  I  afterwards  observed  in  the  papers  repeated  imputa 
tions  of  them  to  me;  on  which,  as  has  been  my  practice 
on  all  occasions  of  imputation,  I  have  observed  entire  si 
lence.  The  question,  indeed,  has  never  before  been  put  to 
me,  nor  should  I  answer  it  to  any  other  than  yourself;  see- 

271  * 


ing  no  good  end  to  be  proposed  by  it,  and  the  desire  of 
tranquillity  inducing  witL  me  a  wish  to  be  withdrawn  from 
public  notice.  Your  father's  zeal  and  talents  were  too 
well  known,  to  derive  any  additional  distinction  from  the 
penning  these  resolutions.  That  circumstance,  surely,  was 
of  far  less  merit  than  the  proposing  and  carrying  them 
through  the  legislature  of  his  State.  The  only  fact  in 
this  statement,  on  which  my  memory  is  not  distinct,  is  the 
time  and  occasion  of  the  consultation  with  your  father  and 
Colonel  Nicholas.  It  took  place  here,  I  know ;  but  whether 
any  other  person  was  present,  or  communicated  with,  is 
my  doubt.  I  think  Mr.  Madison  was  cither  with  us,  or 
consulted,  but  my  memory  is  uncertain  as  to  minute  details. 

On  ilic  Annexation  of  Cuba 

To  the  President  of  the  United  States 
(James  Monroe) 

MONTICELLO,   June   23,    1823. 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  been  lately  visited  by  a  Mr.  Miralla, 
.  .  .  resident  in  Cuba  for  the  last  seven  or  eight  years ; 
a  person  of  intelligence,  of  much  information,  and  frankly 
communicative.  I  believe,  indeed,  he  is  known  to  you. 
I  availed  myself  of  the  opportunity  of  learning  what  was 
the  state  of  public  sentiment  in  Cuba  as  to  their  future 
course.  He  says  they  would  be  satisfied  to  remain  as  they 
are;  but  all  are  sensible  that  that  cannot  be;  that  whenever 
circumstances  shall  render  a  separation  from  Spain  neces 
sary,  a  perfect  independence  would  be  their  choice,  pro 
vided  they  could  see  a  certainty  of  protection ;  but  that, 
without  that  prospect,  they  would  be  divided  in  opinion  be 
tween  an  incorporation  with  Mexico,  and  with  the  United 



States — Colombia  being  too  remote  for  prompt  support. 
The  considerations  in  favor  of  Mexico  are  that  then  Havana 
would  be  the  emporium  for  all  the  produce  of  that  im 
mense  and  wealthy  country,  and,  of  course,  the  medium  of 
all  its  commerce;  that  having  no  ports  on  its  eastern  coast, 
Cuba  would  become  the  depot  of  its  naval  stores  and 
strength,  and,  in  effect,  would,  in  a  great  measure,  have 
the  sinews  of  the  government  in  its  hands.  That  in  favor 
of  the  United  States  is  the  fact  that  three-fourths  of  the 
exportations  from  Havana  come  to  the  United  States,  that 
they  are  a  settled  government,  the  power  which  can  most 
promptly  succor  them,  rising  to  an  eminence  promising 
future  security;  and  of  which  they  would  make  a  member 
of  the  sovereignty,  while  as  to  England,  they  would  be 
only  a  colony,  subordinated  to  her  interest,  and  that  there 
is  not  a  man  in  the  island  who  would  not  resist  her  to  the 
bitterest  extremity.  Of  this  last  sentiment  I  had  not  the 
least  idea  at  the  date  of  my  late  letters  to  you.  I  had 
supposed  an  English  interest  there  quite  as  strong  as  that 
of  the  United  States,  and  therefore,  that,  to  avoid  war, 
and  keep  the  island  open  to  our  own  commerce,  it  would 
be  best  to  join  that  power  in  mutually  guaranteeing  its  in 
dependence.  But  if  there  is  no  danger  of  its  falling  into 
the  possession  of  England,  I  must  retract  an  opinion 
founded  on  an  error  of  fact.  We  are  surely  under  no 
obligation  to  give  her,  gratis,  an  interest  which  she  has  not ; 
and  the  whole  inhabitants  being  averse  to  her,  and  the 
climate  mortal  to  strangers,  its  continued  military  occupa 
tion  by  her  would  be  impracticable.  It  is  better  then  to 
lie  still  in  readiness  to  receive  that  interesting  incorporation 
when  solicited  by  herself.  For,  certainly,  her  addition  to 
our  confederacy  is  exactly  what  is  wanting  to  round  our 
power  as  a  nation  to  the  point  of  its  utmost  interest. 


On  Religion 

To  John  Adams 

MONTICELLO,  April  11,  1823. 

Dear  Sir:  The  wishes  expressed  in  your  last  favor,  that 
I  may  continue  in  life  and  health  until  I  become  a  Cal- 
vinist,  at  least  in  his  exclamation  of  "Mon  Dieu!  jusqu'a 
quand!"  would  make  me  immortal.  I  can  never  join  Cal 
vin  in  addressing  his  God.  He  was  indeed  an  atheist, 
which  I  can  never  be;  or  rather  his  religion  was  daemonism. 
If  ever  man  worshipped  a  false  God  he  did.  The  Being 
described  in  his  five  points,  is  not  the  God  whom  you  and 
I  acknowledge  and  adore,  the  Creator  and  benevolent  Gov 
ernor  of  the  world ;  but  a  daemon  of  malignant  spirit.  It 
would  be  more  pardonable  to  believe  in  no  God  at  all,  than 
to  blaspheme  Him  by  the  atrocious  attributes  of  Calvin. 
Indeed,  I  think  that  every  Christian  sect  gives  a  great 
handle  to  atheism  by  their  general  dogma,  that,  without  a 
revelation,  there  would  not  be  sufficient  proof  of  the  being 
of  a  God.  .  .  .  The  truth  is,  that  the  greatest  enemies 
to  the  doctrines  of  Jesus  are  those,  calling  themselves  the 
expositors  of  them,  who  have  perverted  them  for  the  struct 
ure  of  a  system  of  fancy  absolutely  incomprehensible,  and 
without  any  foundation  in  His  genuine  words.  And  the 
day  will  come,  when  the  mystical  generation  of  Jesus,  by 
the  Supreme  Being  as  His  Father,  in  the  womb  of  a  virgin, 
will  be  classed  with  the  fable  of  the  generation  of  Mi 
nerva,  in  the  brain  of  Jupiter.  But  we  may  hope  that  the 
dawn  of  reason,  and  freedom  of  thought  in  these  United 
States,  will  do  away  all  this  artificial  scaffolding,  and  re 
store  to  us  the  primitive  and  genuine  doctrines  of  this  the 
most  venerated  Reformer  of  human  errors. 



So  much  for  your  quotation  of  Calvin's  "A/on  Dieu! 
jusqu'a  quand!"  in  which,  when  addressed  to  the  God  of 
Jesus,  and  our  God,  I  join  you  cordially,  and  await  His 
time  and  will  with  more  readiness  than  reluctance.  May 
we  meet  there  again,  in  Congress,  with  our  ancient  col 
leagues,  and  receive  with  them  the  seal  of  approbation, 
"Well  done,  good  and  faithful  servants." 

On  Home  and  Foreign  Missions 

To  Michael  Megear 

MONTICELLO,  May  29,  1823. 

I  thank  you,  Sir,  for  the  copy  of  the  letters  of  Paul  and 
Amicus,  which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me,  and 
shall  learn  from  them  with  satisfaction  the  peculiar  tenets 
of  the  Friends,  and  particularly  their  opinions  on  the  in 
comprehensibilities  (otherwise  called  the  mysteries)  of  the 
Trinity.  I  think  with  them  on  many  points,  and  especially 
on  missionary  and  Bible  societies.  While  we  have  so  many 
around  us,  within  the  same  social  pale,  who  need  instruc 
tion  and  assistance,  why  carry  to  a  distance,  and  to 
strangers  what  our  own  neighbors  need  ?  It  is  a  duty  cer 
tainly  to  give  our  sparings  to  those  who  want;  but  to  see 
also  that  they  are  faithfully  distributed,  and  duly  appor 
tioned  to  the  respective  wants  of  those  receivers.  And  why 
give  through  agents  whom  we  know  not,  to  persons  whom 
we  know  not,  and  in  countries  from  which  we  get  no  ac 
count,  when  we  can  do  it  at  short  hand,  to  objects  under 
our  eye,  through  agents  we  know,  and  to  supply  wants  we 
see?  I  do  not  know  that  it  is  a  duty  to  disturb  by  mis 
sionaries  the  religion  and  peace  of  other  countries,  who 
may  think  themselves  bound  to  extinguish  by  fire  and  fagot 



the  heresies  to  which  we  give  the  name  of  conversions,  and 
quote  our  own  example  for  it.  Were  the  Pope,  or  his 
holy  allies,  to  send  in  mission  to  us  some  thousands  of 
Jesuit  priests  to  convert  us  to  their  orthodoxy,  I  suspect 
that  we  should  deem  and  treat  it  as  a  national  aggression 
on  our  peace  and  faith.  I  salute  you  in  the  spirit  of  peace 
and  good  will. 

On  the  Monroe  Doctrine 

To  the  President  of  the  United  States 
(James  Monroe^) 

MONTICELLO,  October  24,  1823. 

Dear  Sir:  The  question  presented  by  the  letters  you 
have  sent  me,  is  the  most  momentous  which  has  ever  been 
offered  to  my  contemplation  since  that  of  Independence. 
That  made  us  a  nation,  this  sets  our  compass  and  points  the 
course  which  we  are  to  steer  through  the  ocean  of  time 
opening  on  us.  And  never  could  we  embark  on  it  under 
circumstances  more  auspicious.  Our  first  and  fundamental 
maxim  should  be,  never  to  entangle  ourselves  in  the  broils 
of  Europe.  Our  second,  never  to  suffer  Europe  to  inter 
meddle  with  cis-atlantic  affairs.  America,  North  and  South, 
has  a  set  of  interests  distinct  from  those  of  Europe,  and 
peculiarly  her  own.  She  should  therefore  have  a  sys 
tem  of  her  own,  separate  and  apart  from  that  of  Europe. 
While  the  last  is  laboring  to  become  the  domicile  of  despot 
ism,  our  endeavor  should  surely  be,  to  make  our  hemisphere 
that  of  freedom.  One  nation,  most  of  all,  could  disturb 
us  in  this  pursuit;  she  now  offers  to  lead,  aid,  and  accom 
pany  us  in  it.  By  acceding  to  her  proposition,  we  detach 
her  from  the  bands,  bring  her  mighty  weight  into  the  scale 



of  free  government,  and  emancipate  a  continent  at  one 
stroke,  which  might  otherwise  linger  long  in  doubt  and 
difficulty.  Great  Britain  is  the  nation  which  can  do  us  the 
most  harm  of  any  one,  or  all  on  earth;  and  with  her  on 
our  side  we  need  not  fear  the  whole  world.  With  her  then, 
we  should  most  sedulously  cherish  a  cordial  friendship; 
and  nothing  would  tend  more  to  knit  our  affections  than 
to  be  fighting  once  more,  side  by  side,  in  the  same  cause. 
Not  that  I  would  purchase  even  her  amity  at  the  price  of 
taking  part  in  her  wars.  But  the  war  in  which  the  present 
proposition  might  engage  us,  should  that  .be  its  conse 
quence,  is  not  her  war,  but  ours.  Its  object  is  to  intro 
duce  and  establish  the  American  system,  of  keeping  out 
of  our  land  all  foreign  powers,  of  never  permitting  those 
of  Europe  to  intermeddle  with  the  affairs  of  our  nations. 
It  is  to  maintain  our  own  principle,  not  to  depart  from 
it.  And  if,  to  facilitate  this,  we  can  effect  a  division  in  the 
body  of  the  European  powers,  and  draw  over  to  our  side 
its  most  powerful  member,  surely  we  should  do  it.  But  I 
am  clearly  of  Mr.  Canning's  opinion,  that  it  will  prevent 
instead  of  provoking  war.  With  Great  Britain  withdrawn 
from  their  scale  and  shifted  into  that  of  our  two  continents, 
all  Europe  combined  would  not  undertake  such  a  war.  For 
how  would  they  propose  to  get  at  either  enemy  without 
superior  fleets?  Nor  is  the  occasion  to  be  slighted  which 
this  proposition  offers,  of  declaring  our  protest  against  the 
atrocious  violations  of  the  rights  of  nations,  by  the  inter 
ference  of  any  one  in  the  internal  affairs  of  another,  so 
flagitiously  begun  by  Bonaparte,  and  now  continued  by  the 
equally  lawless  Alliance,  calling  itself  Holy. 

But  we  have  first  to  ask  ourselves  a  question.  Do  we 
wish  to  acquire  to  our  own  confederacy  any  one  or  more 
of  the  Spanish  provinces?  I  candidly  confess,  that  I  have 
ever  looked  on  Cuba  as  the  most  interesting  addition  which 



could  ever  be  made  to  our  system  of  States.  The  control 
which,  with  Florida  Point,  this  island  would  give  us  over 
the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  and  the  countries  and  isthmus  border 
ing  on  it,  as  well  as  all  those  whose  waters  flow  into  it, 
would  fill  up  the  measure  of  our  political  well-being.  Yet, 
as  I  am  sensible  that  this  can  never  be  obtained,  even  with 
her  own  consent,  but  by  war;  and  its  independence,  which 
is  our  second  interest  (and  especially  its  independence  of 
England),  can  be  secured  without  it,  I  have  no  hesitation 
in  abandoning  my  first  wish  to  future  chances,  and  accept 
ing  its  independence,  with  peace  and  the  friendship  of 
England,  rather  than  its  association,  at  the  expense  of  war 
and  her  enmity. 

I  could  honestly,  therefore,  join  in  the  declaration  pro 
posed,  that  we  aim  not  at  the  acquisition  of  any  of  those 
possessions,  that  we  will  not  stand  in  the  way  of  any 
amicable  arrangement  between  them  and  the  Mother  coun 
try  ;  but  that  we  will  oppose,  with  all  our  means,  the 
forcible  interposition  of  any  other  power,  as  auxiliary,  sti 
pendiary,  or  under  any  other  form  or  pretext,  and  most 
especially,  their  transfer  to  any  power  by  conquest,  cession, 
or  acquisition  in  any  other  way.  I  should  think  it,  there 
fore,  advisable,  that  the  Executive  should  encourage  the 
British  government  to  a  continuance  in  the  dispositions 
expressed  in  these  letters,  by  an  assurance  of  his  concur 
rence  with  them  as  far  as  his  authority  goes;  and  that 
as  it  may  lead  to  war,  the  declaration  of  which  requires 
an  act  of  Congress,  the  case  shall  be  laid  before  them 
for  consideration  at  their  first  meeting,  and  under  the  rea 
sonable  aspect  in  which  it  is  seen  by  himself. 


On  Amendments  to  the  Constitution 

To  Robert  J.   Garnett 

MONTICELLO,  February  14,  1824. 

Dear  Sir:  I  have  to  thank  you  for  the  copy  of  Colonel 
Taylor's  "New  Views  of  the  Constitution,"  and  shall  read 
them  with  the  satisfaction  and  edification  which  I  have  ever 
derived  from  whatever  he  has  written.  But  I  fear  it  is 
the  voice  of  one  crying  in  the  wilderness.  Those  who 
formerly  usurped  the  name  of  federalists,  which,  in  fact, 
they  never  were,  have  now  openly  abandoned  it,  and  are 
as  openly  marching  by  the  road  of  construction,  in  a  direct 
line  to  that  consolidation  which  was  always  their  real 
object.  They,  almost  to  a  man,  are  in  possession  of  one 
branch  of  the  government,  and  appear  to  be  very  strong 
in  yours.  The  three  great  questions  of  amendment  now 
before  you,  will  give  the  measure  of  their  strength.  I 
mean,  1st,  the  limitation  of  the  term  of  Presidential 
service;  2d,  the  placing  the  choice  of  President  effectually 
in  the  hands  of  the  people;  3d,  the  giving  to  Congress  the 
power  of  internal  improvement,  on  condition  that  each 
State's  federal  proportion  of  the  moneys  so  expended,  shall 
be  employed  within  the  State.  The  friends  of  consolidation 
would  rather  take  these  powers  by  construction  than  ac 
cept  them  by  direct  investiture  from  the  States.  Yet,  as  to 
internal  improvement  particularly,  there  is  probably  not  a 
State  in  the  Union  which  would  not  grant  the  power  on 
the  condition  proposed,  or  which  would  grant  it  without 

The  best  general  key  for  the  solution  of  questions  of 
power  between  our  governments  is  the  fact  that  "every 
foreign  and  federal  power  is  given  to  the  federal  govern- 



ment,  and  to  the  States  every  power  purely  domestic." 
I  recollect  but  one  instance  of  control  vested  in  the  federal, 
over  the  State  authorities,  in  a  matter  purely  domestic, 
which  is  that  of  metallic  tenders.  The  federal  is,  in  truth, 
our  foreign  government,  which  department  alone  is  taken 
from  the  sovereignty  of  the  separate  States. 

The  real  friends  of  the  Constitution  in  its  federal  form, 
if  they  wish  it  to  be  immortal,  should  be  attentive,  by 
amendments,  to  make  it  keep  pace  with  the  advance  of 
the  age  in  science  and  experience.  Instead  of  this,  the 
European  governments  have  resisted  reformation,  until  the 
people,  seeing  no  other  resource,  undertake  it  themselves 
by  force,  their  only  weapon,  and  work  it  out  through  blood, 
desolation  and  long-continued  anarchy.  Here  it  will  be  by 
large  fragments  breaking  off,  and  refusing  re-union  but  on 
condition  of  amendment,  or  perhaps  permanently.  If  I 
can  see  these  three  great  amendments  prevail,  I  shall  con 
sider  it  as  a  renewed  extension  of  the  term  of  our  lease, 
shall  live  in  more  confidence,  and  die  in  more  hope.  And 
I  do  trust  that  the  republican  mass,  which  Colonel  Taylor 
justly  says  is  the  real  federal  one,  is  still  strong  enough 
to  carry  these  truly  federo-republican  amendments.  With 
my  prayers  for  the  issue,  accept  my  friendly  and  respect 
ful  salutations. 

Concerning  Parti/  Names  and  Purposes 

To  William  Short 

MONTICELLO,  January  8,  1825. 

He  [Harper]  takes  great  pains  to  prove,  for  instance, 
that  Hamilton  was  no  monarchist,  by  exaggerating  his  own 
intimacy  with  him,  and  the  impossibility,  if  he  was  so,  that 



he  should  not,  at  some  time,  have  betrayed  it  to  him.  This 
may  pass  with  uninformed  readers,  but  not  with  those  who 
have  had  it  from  Hamilton's  own  mouth.  I  am  one  of 
those,  and  but  one  of  many.  At  my  own  table,  in  presence 
of  Mr.  Adams,  Knox,  Randolph,  and  myself,  in  a  dis 
pute  between  Mr.  Adams  and  himself,  he  avowed  his 
preference  of  monarchy  over  every  other  government, 
and  his  opinion  that  the  English  was  the  most  perfect 
model  of  government  ever  devised  by  the  wit  of  man,  Mr. 
Adams  agreeing  "if  its  corruptions  were  done  away." 
While  Hamilton  insisted  that  "with  these  corruptions  it  was 
perfect  and  without  them  it  would  be  an  impracticable 
government."  Can  any  one  read  Mr.  Adams's  defence  of 
the  American  Constitutions  without  seeing  that  he  was  a 
monarchist?  And  J.  Q.  Adams,  the  son,  was  more  explicit 
than  the  father,  in  his  answer  to  Paine's  "Rights  of  Man." 
So  much  for  leaders.  Their  followers  were  divided.  Some 
went  the  same  lengths;  others,  and  I  believe  the  greater 
part,  only  wished  a  stronger  Executive. 

When  I  arrived  at  New  York  in  1790,  to  take  a  part  in 
the  administration,  being  fresh  from  the  French  Revolu 
tion,  while  in  its  first  and  pure  stage,  and  consequently 
somewhat  whetted  up  in  my  own  republican  principles, 
I  found  a  state  of  things,  in  the  general  society  of  the 
place,  which  I  could  not  have  supposed  possible.  Being 
a  stranger  there,  I  was  feasted  from  table  to  table,  at 
large  set  dinners,  the  parties  generally  from  twenty  to 
thirty.  The  revolution  I  had  left,  and  that  we  had  just 
gone  through  in  the  recent  change  of  our  own  government, 
being  the  common  topics  of  conversation,  I  was  astonished 
to  find  the  general  prevalence  of  monarchical  sentiments, 
insomuch  that  in  maintaining  those  of  republicanism,  I 
had  always  the  whole  company  on  my  hands,  never  scarcely 
finding  among  them  a  single  co-advocate  in  that  argument, 



unless  some  old  member  of  Congress  happened  to  be  pres 
ent.  The  furthest  that  any  one  would  go,  in  support  of 
the  republican  features  of  our  new  government,  would  be 
to  say,  "the  present  Constitution  is  well  as  a  beginning,  and 
may  be  allowed  a  fair  trial ;  but  it  is,  in  fact,  only  a  step 
ping-stone  to  something  better."  Among  their  writers, 
Denny,  the  editor  of  the  Portfolio,  who  was  a  kind  of 
oracle  with  them,  and  styled  the  Addison  of  America, 
openly  avowed  his  preference  of  monarchy  over  all  other 
forms  of  government,  prided  himself  on  the  avowal,  and 
maintained  it  by  argument  freely  and  without  reserve,  in 
his  publications.  I  do  not,  myself,  know  that  the  Essex 
junto  of  Boston  were  monarchists,  but  I  have  always  heard 
it  so  said,  and  never  doubted. 

These,  my  dear  Sir,  are  but  detached  items  from  a  great 
mass  of  proofs  then  fully  before  the  public.  They  are 
unknown  to  you,  because  you  were  absent  in  Europe,  and 
they  are  now  disavowed  by  the  party.  But,  had  it  not 
been  for  the  firm  and  determined  stand  then  made  by  a 
counter-party,  no  man  can  say  what  our  government  would 
have  been  at  this  day.  Monarchy,  to  be  sure,  is  now  de 
feated,  and  they  wish  it  should  be  forgotten  that  it  was 
ever  advocated.  They  see  that  it  is  desperate,  and  treat 
its  imputation  to  them  as  a  calumny;  and  I  verily  believe 
that  none  of  them  have  it  now  in  direct  aim.  Yet  the 
spirit  is  not  done  away.  The  same  party  takes  now  what 
they  deem  the  next  best  ground,  the  consolidation  of  the 
government;  the  giving  to  the  federal  member  of  the  gov 
ernment,  by  unlimited  constructions  of  the  Constitution,  a 
control  over  all  the  functions  of  the  States,  and  the  con 
centration  of  all  power  ultimately  at  Washington. 

The  true  history  of  that  conflict  of  parties  will  never 
be  in  possession  of  the  public  until,  by  the  death  of  the 
actors  in  it,  the  hoards  of  their  letters  shall  be  broken  up 



and  given  to  the  world.  I  should  not  fear  to  appeal  to 
those  of  Harper  himself,  if  he  has  kept  copies  of  them, 
for  abundant  proof  that  he  was  himself  a  monarchist.  I 
shall  not  live  to  see  these  unrevealed  proofs,  nor  probably 
you;  for  time  will  be  requisite.  But  time  will,  in  the  end, 
produce  the  truth.  And,  after  all,  it  is  but  a  truth 
which  exists  in  every  country,  where  not  suppressed  by 
the  rod  of  despotism.  Men,  according  to  their  constitu 
tions,  and  the  circumstances  in  which  they  are  placed,  differ 
honestly  in  opinion.  Some  are  Whigs,  Liberals,  Demo 
crats,  call  them  what  you  please.  Others  are  Tories,  Ser- 
viles,  Aristocrats,  etc.  The  latter  fear  the  people,  and 
wish  to  transfer  all  power  to  the  higher  classes  of  society; 
the  former  consider  the  people  as  the  safest  depository 
of  power  in  the  last  resort;  they  cherish  them,  therefore, 
and  wish  to  leave  in  them  all  the  powers  to  the  exercise 
of  which  they  are  competent.  This  is  the  division  of 
sentiment  now  existing  in  the  United  States.  It  is  the 
common  division  of  Whig  and  Tory,  or  according  to  our 
denominations  of  republican  and  federal;  and  is  the  most 
salutary  of  all  divisions,  and  ought,  therefore,  to  be  fos 
tered,  instead  of  being  amalgamated.  For,  take  away  this, 
and  some  more  dangerous  principle  of  division  will  take 
its  place. 

To   Thomas  Jefferson  Smith 

MONTICELLO,  February  21,  1825. 

This  letter  will,  to  you,  be  as  one  from  the  dead.  The 
writer  will  be  in  the  grave  before  you  can  .weigh  its 
counsels.  Your  affectionate  and  excellent  father  has  re- 



quested  that  I  would  address  to  you  something  which  might 
possibly  have  a  favorable  influence  on  the  course  of  life 
you  have  to  run,  and  I  too,  as  a  namesake,  feel  an  interest 
in  that  course.  Few  words  will  be  necessary,  with  good 
dispositions  on  your  part.  Adore  God.  Reverence  and 
cherish  your  parents.  Love  your  neighbor  as  yourself,  and 
your  country  more  than  yourself.  Be  just.  Be  true. 
Murmur  not  at  the  ways  of  Providence.  So  shall  the  life 
into  which  you  have  entered  be  the  portal  to  one  of  eternal 
and  ineffable  bliss.  And  if  to  the  dead  it  is  permitted  to 
care  for  the  things  of  this  world,  every  action  of  your 
life  will  be  under  my  regard.  Farewell. 

The  Portrait  of  a  Good  Man  by  the  most  Sublime  of  Poets, 
for  your  Imitation 

Lord,  who's  the  happy  man  that  may  to  Thy  blest  courts  repair, 
Not  stranger-like  to  visit  them,  but  to  inhabit  there  ? 
Tis  he  whose  every  thought  and  deed  by  rules  of  virtue  moves, 
Whose  generous  tongue  disdains  to  speak  the  thing  his  heart  dis 

Who  never  did  a  slander  forge,  his  neighbor's  fame  to  wound, 
Nor  hearken  to  a  false  report,  by  malice  whispered  round. 
Who  vice,  in  all  its  pomp  and  power,  can  treat  with  just  neglect ; 
And  piety,  though  clothed  in  rags,  religiously  respect. 
Who  to  his  plighted  vows  and  trust  has  ever  firmly  stood, 
And  though  he  promise  to  his  loss,  he  makes  his  promise  good. 
Whose  soul  in  usury  disdains  his  treasure  to  employ. 
Whom  no  rewards  can  ever  bribe  the  guiltless  to  destroy. 
The  man  who,  by  this  steady  course,  has  happiness  insur'd, 
When  earth's  foundations  shake,  shall  stand,  by  Providence  secur'd. 

A  Decalogue  of  Canons  for  Observation  in  Practical  Life 

1.  Never  put  off  till  to-morrow  what  you  can  do  to-day. 

2.  Never  trouble  another  for  what  you  can  do  yourself. 
.3.   Never  spend  your  money  before  you  have  it. 



4.  Never  buy  what  you  do  not  want,  because  it  is  cheap; 
it  will  be  dear  to  you. 

5.  Pride  costs  us  more  than  hunger,  thirst,  and  cold. 

6.  We  never  repent  of  having  eaten  too  little. 

7.  Nothing  is  troublesome  that  we  do  willingly. 

8.  How  much  pain   have  cost  us   the  evils   which  have 
never  happened. 

9.  Take  things  always  by  their  smooth  handle. 

10.  When  angry,  count  ten,  before  you  speak;  if  very 
angry,  an  hundred. 

On  Slavery 

To   Miss   Frances    Wright 

MONTICELLO,  August  7,  1825. 

My  health  is  very  low,  not  having  been  able  to  leave 
the  house  for  three  months,  and  suffering  much  at  times. 
In  this  state  of  body  and  mind,  your  letter  could  not  have 
found  a  more  inefficient  counsellor,  one  scarcely  able  to 
think  or  to  write.  At  the  age  of  eighty-two,  with  one  foot 
in  the  grave,  and  the  other  uplifted  to  follow  it,  I  do  not 
permit  myself  to  take  part  in  any  new  enterprises,  even 
for  bettering  the  condition  of  man,  not  even  in  the  great 
one  which  is  the  subject  of  your  letter,  and  which  has 
been  through  life  that  of  my  greatest  anxieties.  The  march 
of  events  has  not  been  such  as  to  render  its  completion 
practicable  within  the  limits  of  time  allotted  to  me;  and 
I  leave  its  accomplishment  as  the  work  of  another  genera 
tion.  And  I  am  cheered  when  I  see  that  on  which  it  is 
devolved,  taking  it  up  with  so  much  good-will,  and  such 
minds  engaged  in  its  encouragement.  The  abolition  of  the 
evil  is  not  impossible;  it  ought  never  therefore  to  be 



despaired  of.  Every  plan  should  be  adopted,  every  ex 
periment  tried,  which  may  do  something  toward  the  ul 
timate  object.  That  which  you  propose  is  well  worthy 
of  trial.  It  has  succeeded  with  certain  portions  of  our 
white  brethren,  under  the  care  of  a  Rapp  and  an  Owen; 
and  why  may  it  not  succeed  with  the  man  of  color?  An 
opinion  is  hazarded  by  some,  but  proved  by  none,  that 
moral  urgencies  are  not  sufficient  to  induce  him  to  labor; 
that  nothing  can  do  this  but  physical  coercion.  But  this 
is  a  problem  which  the  present  age  alone  is  prepared  to 
solve  by  experiment.  It  would  be  a  solecism  to  suppose 
a  race  of  animals  created,  without  sufficient  foresight  and 
energy  to  preserve  their  own  existence.  It  is  disproved, 
too,  by  the  fact  that  they  exist,  and  have  existed  through 
all  the  ages  of  history.  We  are  not  sufficiently  acquainted 
with  all  the  nations  of  Africa,  to  say  that  there  may  not 
be  some  in  which  habits  of  industry  are  establisbed,  and 
the  arts  practised  which  are  necessary  to  render  life  com 
fortable.  The  experiment  now  in  progress  in  St.  Domingo, 
those  of  Sierra  Leone  and  Cape  Mesurado,  are  but  begin 
ning.  Your  proposition  has  its  aspects  of  promise  also; 
and  should  it  not  answer  fully  to  calculations  in  figures, 
it  may  yet,  in  its  developments,  lead  to  happy  results. 
These,  however,  I  must  leave  to  another  generation.  The 
enterprise  of  a  different,  but  yet  important  character,  in 
which  I  have  embarked  too  late  in  life,  I  find  more  than 
sufficient  to  occupy  the  enfeebled  energies  remaining  to  me, 
and  that  to  divert  them  to  other  objects,  would  be  a  de 
sertion  of  these.  You  are  young,  dear  Madam,  and  have 
powers  of  mind  which  may  do  much  in  exciting  others 
in  this  arduous  task.  I  am  confident  they  will  be  so  ex 
erted,  and  I  pray  to  Heaven  for  their  success,  and  that 
you  may  be  rewarded  with  the  blessings  which  such  efforts 


On  State  Rights 

To  William  B.  Giles 

MONTICELLO,  December  26,  1825. 

Dear  Sir:  I  wrote  you  a  letter  yesterday,  of  which  you 
will  be  free  to  make  what  use  you  please.  This  will  con 
tain  matters  not  intended  for  the  public  eye.  I  see,  at 
you  do,  and  with  the  deepest  affliction,  the  rapid  strides 
with  which  the  federal  branch  of  our  Government  is  ad 
vancing  toward  the  usurpation  of  all  the  rights  reserved 
to  the  States,  and  the  consolidation  in  itself  of  all  powers, 
foreign  and  domestic;  and  that  too,  by  constructions  which, 
if  legitimate,  leave  no  limits  to  their  power.  Take  to 
gether  the  decisions  of  the  federal  court,  the  doctrines  of 
the  President,  and  the  misconstructions  of  the  constitu 
tional  compact  acted  on  by  the  legislature  of  the  federal 
branch,  and  it  is  but  too  evident,  that  the  three  ruling 
branches  of  that  department  are  in  combination  to  strip 
their  colleagues,  the  State  authorities,  of  the  powers  re 
served  by  them,  and  to  exercise  themselves  all  functions 
foreign  and  domestic.  Under  the  power  to  regulate  com 
merce,  they  assume  indefinitely  that  also  over  agriculture 
and  manufactures,  and  call  it  regulation  to  take  the  earn 
ings  of  one  of  these  branches  of  industry,  and  that,  too, 
the  most  depressed,  and  put  them  into  the  pockets  of  the 
other,  the  most  flourishing  of  all.  Under  the  authority  to 
establish  post  roads,  they  claim  that  of  cutting  down  moun 
tains  for  the  construction  of  roads,  of  digging  canals,  and 
aided  by  a  little  sophistry  on  the  words  "general  welfare," 
a  right  to  do,  not  only  the  acts  to  effect  that,  which  are 
specifically  enumerated  and  permitted,  but  whatsoever  they 
shall  think,  or  pretend  will  be  for  the  general  welfare. 



And  what  is  our  resource  for  the  preservation  of  the  Con 
stitution?  Reason  and  argument?  You  might  as  well  rea 
son  and  argue  with  the  marble  columns  encircling  them. 
The  representatives  chosen  by  ourselves?  They  are  joined 
in  the  combination,  some  from  incorrect  views  of  govern 
ment,  some  from  corrupt  ones,  sufficient  voting  together  to 
outnumber  the  sound  parts;  and  with  majorities  only  of 
one,  two,  or  three,  bold  enough  to  go  forward  in  defiance. 
Are  we  then  to  stand  to  our  arms,  with  the  hot-headed 
Georgian?  No.  That  must  be  the  List  resource,  not  to 
be  thought  of  until  much  longer  and  greater  sufferings. 
If  every  infraction  of  a  compact  of  so  many  parties  is 
to  be  resisted  at  once,  as  a  dissolution  of  it,  none  can  ever 
be  formed  which  would  last  one  year.  We  must  have  pa 
tience  and  longer  endurance  then  with  our  brethren  while 
under  delusion ;  give  them  time  for  reflection  and  experi 
ence  of  consequences;  keep  ourselves  in  a  situation  to  profit 
by  the  chapter  of  accidents ;  and  separate  from  our  com 
panions  only  when  the  sole  alternatives  left,  are  the  dis 
solution  of  our  Union,  with  them  or  submission  to  a  govern 
ment  without  limitation  of  powers.  Between  these  two 
evils,  when  we  must  make  a  choice,  there  can  be  no  hesita 
tion.  But  in  the  meanwhile,  the  States  should  be  watch 
ful  to  note  every  material  usurpation  on  their  rights ;  to 
denounce  them  as  they  occur  in  the  most  peremptory  terms ; 
to  protest  against  them  as  wrongs  to  which  our  present 
submission  shall  be  considered,  not  as  acknowledgments 
or  precedents  of  right,  but  as  a  temporary  yielding  to  the 
lesser  evil,  until  their  accumulation  shall  overweigh  that  of 
separation.  I  would  go  still  further,  and  give  to  the 
federal  member,  by  a  regular  amendment  of  the  Constitu 
tion,  a  right  to  make  roads  and  canals  of  intercommunica 
tion  between  the  States,  providing  sufficiently  against  cor 
rupt  practices  in  Congress,  (log-rolling,  etc.)  by  declaring 



that  the  federal  proportion  of  each  State  of  the  moneys 
so  employed,  shall  be  in  works  within  the  State,  or  else 
where  with  its  consent,  and  with  a  due  salvo  of  jurisdiction. 
This  is  the  course  which  I  think  safest  and  best  as  yet. 

On  Slavery 

To  the  Honorable  Edward  Everett 

MONTICELLO,  April  8,   1826. 

Dear  Sir:  I  thank  you  for  the  very  able  and  eloquent 
speech  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me  on  the  amend 
ment  of  the  Constitution,  proposed  by  Mr.  McDuffie.  I 
have  read  it  with  pleasure  and  satisfaction,  and  concur 
with  much  of  its  contents.  On  the  question  of  the  law 
fulness  of  slavery,  that  is  of  the  right  of  one  man  to  ap 
propriate  to  himself  the  faculties  of  another  without  his 
consent,  I  certainly  retain  my  early  opinions.  On  that, 
however,  of  third  persons  to  interfere  between  the  parties, 
and  the  effect  of  conventional  modifications  of  that  pre 
tension,  we  are  probably  nearer  together.  I  think  with 
you,  also,  that  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  is 
a  compact  of  independent  nations  subject  to  the  rules 
acknowledged  in  similar  cases,  as  well  that  of  amendment 
provided  within  itself,  as,  in  case  of  abuse,  the  justly 
dreaded  but  unavoidable  ultimo  ratio  gentium. 


Jefferson  s  Inscription  for  his  Tombstone 










174-3   O.  S. 

DIED  [JULY  4] 




Thomas  Jefferson  was  born  at  Shadwell,  Va.,  on  the 
second  of  April,,  1743.  He  came  of  a  good  family.  The 
Jeffersons,  like  the  Washingtons,  were  landed  proprietors, 
men  of  standing  and  influence  in  the  community,  Thomas 
Jefferson  the  elder  being  Justice  of  the  Peace  and  Vestry 
man  in  his  county,  and  holding  at  the  time  of  his  death  1,900 
acres  of  land  and  thirty  slaves.  Thomas  was  the  third  of 
ten  children  and,  though  only  fourteen  when  his  father  died, 
had  given  promise  of  such  unusual  powers  that  strict  pro 
vision  was  made  in  the  will  for  his  education.  At  fifteen  he 
entered  William  and  Mary  College  where  he  graduated  four 
years  later  and  entered  upon  the  study  of  the  law. 

From  the  first  he  showed  aptitude  as  well  as  ambition  for 
public  affairs.  When  he  came  of  age  he  was  elected  Justice. 
At  twenty-five  he  was  chosen  to  the  House  of  Burgesses  and 
remained  a  member  until  the  Assembly  was  closed  by  the 
Revolution.  Then  he  was  sent  to  Congress  and  in  1779 
was  elected  Governor  of  Virginia.  From  that  time  until 
near  the  close  of  his  life  he  was  almost  constantly  engaged 
in  the  public  service,  acting  successively  as  Member  of 
Congress,  Minister  to  France,  Secretary  of  State,  Vice- 
President,  and  President. 

When  he  was  fifty-seven  he  drew  up  a  brief  statement  in 
the  nature  of  an  apologia  pro  vita  sua  which  forms  a  modest 
account  of  his  achievements  up  to  that  time. 

"I  have  sometimes  asked  myself,  whether  my  country  is 
the  better  for  my  having  lived  at  all?  I  do  not  know  that 
it  is.  I  have  been  the  instrument  of  doing  the  following 
things ;  but  they  would  have  been  done  by  others ;  some  of 
them,  perhaps,  a  little  better: 



"The  Rivanna  had  never  been  used  for  navigation; 
scarcely  an  empty  canoe  had  ever  passed  down  it.  Soon 
after  I  came  of  age,  I  examined  its  obstructions,  set  on  foot 
a  subscription  for  removing  them,  got  an  Act  of  Assembly 
passed,  and  the  thing  effected,  so  as  to  be  used  completely 
and  fully  for  carrying  down  all  our  produce. 

"The  Declaration  of  Independence. 

"I  proposed  the  demolition  of  the  church  establishment 
and  the  freedom  of  religion.  It  could  only  be  done  by  de 
grees;  to  wit,  the  Act  of  1776,  c.  2,  exempted  dissenters 
from  contributions  to  the  Church,  and  left  the  Church  clergy 
to  be  supported  by  voluntary  contributions  of  their  own 
sect,  was  continued  from  year  to  year,  and  made  perpetual 
1779,  c.  36.  I  prepared  the  act  for  religious  freedom  in 
1777,  as  part  of  the  revisal,  which  was  not  reported  to  the 
Assembly  till  1779,  and  that  particular  law  not  passed  till 
1785,  and  then  by  the  efforts  of  Mr.  Madison. 

"The  act  of  putting  an  end  to  entails. 

"The  act  prohibiting  the  importation  of  slaves. 

"The  act  concerning  citizens,  and  establishing  the  natural 
right  of  man  to  expatriate  himself  at  will. 

"The  act  changing  the  course  of  descents,  and  giving  the 
inheritance  to  all  the  children,  etc.,  equally,  I  drew  as  part 
of  the  revisal. 

"The  act  for  apportioning  crimes  and  punishments,  part 
of  the  same  work,  I  drew.  .  .  . 

"In  1 789  and  1 790,  I  had  a  great  number  of  olive  plants, 
of  the  best  kind,  sent  from  Marseilles  to  Charleston,  for 
South  Carolina  and  Georgia.  They  were  planted,  and  are 
flourishing;  and,  though  not  yet  multiplied,  they  will  be  the 
germ  of  that  cultivation  in  those  States. 

"In  1790,  I  got  a  cask  of  heavy  upland  rice,  from  the  river 
Denbigh,  in  Africa,  about  lat.  9°  30'  north,  which  I  sent 
to  Charleston,  in  hopes  it  might  supersede  the  culture  of  the 



wet  rice,  which  renders  South  Carolina  and  Georgia  so  pes 
tilential  through  the  summer.  It  was  divided,  and  a  part 
sent  to  Georgia.  I  know  not  whether  it  has  been  attended 
to  in  South  Carolina,  but  it  has  spread  in  the  upper  parts 
of  Georgia,  so  as  to  have  become  almost  general,  and  is 
highly  prized.  Perhaps  it  may  answer  in  Tennessee  and 
Kentucky.  The  greatest  service  which  can  be  rendered  any 
country  is  to  add  a  useful  plant  to  its  culture,  especially 
a  bread  grain;  next  in  value  to  bread  is  oil." 

This  list  of  achievements  necessarily  omits  the  Purchase 
of  Louisiana — historically  of  only  less  importance  than  the 
Declaration — since  that  was  not  accomplished  until  two 
years  later. 

The  true  importance  of  Jefferson  does  not  depend,  how 
ever,  upon  these  specific  acts,  but  rather,  as  Lincoln  pointed 
out  in  a  letter  written  in  1859,  upon  his  general  influence: 

"All  honor  to  Jefferson — to  the  man,  who  in  the  con 
crete  pressure  of  a  struggle  for  national  independence  by  a 
single  people,  had  the  coolness,  forecast,  and  sagacity  to 
introduce  into  a  merely  revolutionary  document  an  abstract 
truth,  applicable  to  all  men  and  all  times,  and  so  embalm 
it  there  that  to-day  and  in  all  coming  days  it  shall  be  a  re 
buke  and  a  stumbling-block  to  the  very  harbingers  of  reap 
pearing  tyranny  and  oppression." 


THE    STORY    OF    THE    BOOK 

Thomas  Jefferson  was  a  statesman  not  an  author.  In 
fact,  few  public  men  have  had  so  little  desire  to  appear  in 
print.  Writing  in  1809  to  a  Mr.  Campbell,  he  said: 

"In  answer  to  your  proposition  for  publishing  a  complete 
edition  of  my  different  writings,  I  must  observe  that  no 
writings  of  mine,  other  than  those  merely  official,  have  been 
published,  except  the  'Notes  on  Virginia'  and  a  small  pam 
phlet  under  the  title  of  'A  Summary  View  of  the  Rights  of 
British  America.' 

"I  do  not  mention  the  'Parliamentary  Manual/  published 
for  the  use  of  the  Senate  of  the  United  States,  because  it 
was  a  mere  compilation,  into  which  nothing  entered  of  my 
own  but  the  arrangement  and  a  few  observations  necessary 
to  explain  that  and  some  of  the  cases. 

"I  do  not  know  whether  your  view  extends  to  official 
papers  of  mine  which  have  been  published.  Many  of  these 
would  be  like  old  newspapers,  materials  for  future  his 
torians,  but  no  longer  interesting  to  the  readers  of  the  day. 
They  would  consist  of  reports,  correspondences,  messages, 
answers  to  addresses;  a  few  of  my  reports  while  Secretary 
of  State,  might,  perhaps,  be  read  by  some  as  essays  on  ab 
stract  subjects.  Such  as  the  report  on  measures,  weights, 
and  coins,  on  the  mint,  on  the  fisheries,  on  commerce,  on  the 
use  of  distilled  sea-water,  etc.  The  correspondences  with 
the  British  and  French  ministers,  Hammond  and  Genet, 
were  published  by  Congress.  The  messages  to  Congress, 
which  might  have  been  interesting  at  the  moment,  would 
scarcely  be  read  a  second  time,  and  answers  to  addresses 
are  hardly  read  a  first  time. 

"So  that  on  a  review  of  these  various  materials,  I  see 
nothing  encouraging  a  printer  to  a  republication  of  them. 


THE    STORY    OF    THE    BOOK 

They  would  probably  be  bought  by  those  only  who  are  in 
the  habit  of  preserving  state  papers,  and  who  are  not  many." 

In  spite  of  his  indifference  to  fame  of  this  sort,  his  "Notes 
on  Virginia,"  first  published  in  1784,  ran  through  sixteen 
editions  during  his  life  time  and  has  been  reprinted  a  num 
ber  of  times  since. 

The  first  collected  edition  of  Jefferson's  works  was  that 
published  in  1854  by  order  of  Congress.  A  more  complete 
and  carefully  edited  edition  was  prepared  by  Paul  Leicester 
Ford  in  1892-99,  and  in  1904  was  published  the  very  full 
and  elaborate  edition  of  the  Thomas  Jefferson  Memorial 
Society  of  America,  upon  which  this  volume  has  principally 
been  based. 

Jefferson  has  always  been  the  prophet  of  American 
Democracy,  and  the  interest  in  his  writings  is  unlikely  ever 
to  cease,  were  it  only  for  the  political  theory  they  contain. 
But  a  glance  over  the  contents  of  this  selection  from  his 
letters  and  papers  will  disclose  a  nature  rich  and  many- 
sided,  profoundly  interested  in  science,  in  commerce,  in  edu 
cation,  no  less  than  in  government — in  fact,  a  nature  so  opu 
lent  in  resources  that  it  may  be  taken  as  an  epitome  of 
his  age. 



8  A  Youthful  Attachment.  The  "picture  and  watch- 
paper"  was  that  of  Rebecca  Burwell,  who  is  referred  to 
also  in  the  letter  which  follows  this  on  page  10.  She  was 
married  in  1764  to  Jacqueline  Ambler. 

16  Declaration  of  Independence.  The  action  of  the 
Continental  Congress  on  the  Declaration  of  Independence 
was  as  follows.  On  June  7,  1776,  Richard  Henry  Lee, 
acting  on  instructions  from  the  Virginia  Assembly,  intro 
duced  a  resolution  that  "these  United  Colonies  are,  and  of 
Right  ought  to  be,  Free  and  Independent  States."  On 
June  1 1  Congress  appointed  to  draft  a  Declaration  a 
Committee  consisting  of  Thomas  Jefferson,  John  Adams, 
Benjamin  Franklin,  Roger  Sherman,  and  Robert  A.  Liv 
ingston.  Jefferson  drafted  the  Declaration,  which,  after 
slight  alteration  by  Adams  and  Franklin,  was  accepted  by 
the  Committee.  On  July  2,  Congress  adopted  Lee's  orig 
inal  resolution,  and  on  July  4>,  Jefferson's  Declaration  with 
some  omissions  and  changes,  the  most  important  of  which 
were  the  omission  of  the  denunciation  of  the  British  peo 
ple  (page  21)  and  of  the  slave-trade  (pages  19—20).  The 
Declaration  was  not  signed  by  the  Congress  until  August  2. 

23  On  Retiring  from  Public  Life.      This  letter   seems 
to  refer  to  Jefferson's  refusal  of  a  reappointment  to  Con 
gress  in  December,  1781.     At  that  time  he  was  being  very 
severely  criticised  for  his  conduct  as  Governor  of  Virginia 
during  the  invasion  of  Cornwallis. 

24  "Notes  on    Virginia."     This,  the  most  extensive  of 
the  separate  works  of  Jefferson,  was  compiled  in  response 
to  the  inquiries  of   Marbois,  the   French  agent,  as  to  the 
resources  of  the  states.     Written  during  Jefferson's  retire- 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

ment  (1781-2),  the  "Notes"  are  of  a  remarkable  frankness 
and  freedom  of  expression,  which  make  them  invaluable  as 
a  revelation  of  character.  They  were  published  in  French 
at  Paris  in  1784,  translated,  and  repeatedly  republished. 
They  gave  to  Jefferson  a  place  in  the  scientific  world  of 
Europe  second  only  to  Franklin,  and  are  to-day  the  best 
account  of  Revolutionary  Virginia. 

24  The  American  Genius.  The  instrument  proper  to 
them  is  the  Banjar,  which  they  brought  hither  from  Africa, 
and  which  is  the  original  of  the  guitar,  its  chords  being 
precisely  the  four  lower  chords  of  the  guitar. 

24  On  Slavery.  Throughout  his  life  Jefferson  was  out 
spoken  in  his  condemnation  of  slavery,  for  its  ill  effects 
on  the  whites  (page  26)  as  well  as  on  the  blacks.  Like 
Washington  and  the  other  opponents  of  slavery  in  the 
South,  Jefferson  saw  that  the  fundamental  difficulty  was 
to  find  a  place  for  the  negro  in  society.  Slavery  was  one 
solution,  but,  he  believed,  wasteful,  injurious  to  the  whites, 
and  unjust  to  the  blacks.  He  advocated  gradual  emanci 
pation  (with  compensation)  and  the  colonization  of  the 
free  negroes.  He  heartily  supported  the  later  project  of 
transporting  the  free  negroes  to  Sierra  Leone.  For  fur 
ther  information  as  to  his  attitude,  compare  the  selections 
on  pages  26,  34,  63,  146,  258,  285,  289- 

30  Martha  Jefferson.  Born  Oct.  19,  1748,  daughter 
of  John  Wayles.  Married  Jefferson  in  1772,  being  at  that 
time  a  widow,  her  first  husband,  Bathurst  Skelton,  having 
died  several  years  previously.  She  died  at  Monticello  in 

34  Peter  Carr.  A  nephew  of  Jefferson,  and  one  of 
the  six  children  of  Dabney  Carr.  They  were  brought  up 
by  Jefferson  after  the  premature  death  of  their  father. 

38  Inferiority  of  Commerce  and  Manufactures  to  Agri 
culture.  In  letters  of  1805  (page  167)  Jefferson  explained 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

that  he  condemned  manufactures  and  commerce  because  of 
the  wretched  conditions  of  city  life  in  Europe,  but  that, 
as  these  conditions  did  not  exist  in  a  new  country  like 
America,  the  condemnation  did  not  as  yet  apply  there. 
(Compare  page  191.) 

41  Superiority  of  the  United  States  to  France.  It 
should  be  noted  that  Jefferson's  belief  in  the  absolute  de 
pendence  of  a  people's  happiness  on  its  political  freedom 
inevitably  darkened  his  pictures  of  European  life.  Com 
pare  selections  on  pages  43,  242. 

45  On  New  States.  The  organization  of  the  western 
territory  into  states  and  their  admission  into  the  Union 
were  subjects  of  the  deepest  interest  to  Jefferson.  In 
1784,  when  Virginia  had  completed  the  cession  of  her  west 
ern  claims  to  the  Confederacy,  Jefferson  introduced  an 
Ordinance  into  Congress  which  ( 1 )  forbade  slavery  in  the 
territory  after  1800;  (2)  divided  it  into  small  states  with 
geographical  names — Pelisipia,  Metropotamia,  etc.;  (3) 
provided  for  a  temporary  territorial  government  and 
speedy  admission  to  the  Union.  The  third  section  alone 
was  adopted,  but  it  became  the  foundation  of  the  territorial 
policy  of  the  United  States.  The  prohibition  of  slavery 
reappears  in  the  Northwest  Ordinance  of  1787. 

47  Force  in  the  Barbary  States.      Not  until  Jefferson 
was   President,   in   the   Barbary   wars    1802-6,  were   these 
pirates  and  blackmailers  compelled  by  force  to  respect  the 
United  States. 

48  The  Society  of  the  Cincinnati.     The  native  and  for 
eign  officers  of  the  Revolutionary  Army  organized  this  so 
ciety  on  May  13,  1783  to  "perpetuate  the  remembrance  of 
this  vast  event   [the  Revolution]    and  .  .  .  mutual  friend 
ship."     The  membership  was  restricted  to  the  officers  and 
their  male  heirs  in  direct  line.     The  exclusive  character  of 
the   membership   and  the  hereditary  element  suggested  to 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

the  supersensitive  public  opinion  of  the  time  an  hereditary 
aristocracy  and  aroused  widespread  fear  and  dislike.  The 
society  still  exists,  with  the  thirteen  original  chapters. 

53  The  Navigation  of  the  Mississippi.  The  claim  of 
Spain  to  the  control  of  the  Mississippi  furnished  one  of 
the  most  difficult  problems  of  the  Confederacy.  The  river 
was  the  only  outlet  for  the  products  of  the  settlers  in  the 
Ohio  valley,  and  the  indifference  of  the  Northern  and  East 
ern  States  very  nearly  drove  these  to  open  revolt.  Jeffer 
son  fully  appreciated  the  importance  of  the  free  navigation 
of  the  Mississippi  and  as  Minister  to  France  and  as  Secre 
tary  of  State  (see  pages  81,  92)  used  his  utmost  endeavors 
to  secure  it. 

61  Co-ngress  of  the  Confederation.     The  weakness  of 
Congress  was  due  to  the  lack  of  a  separate  executive,  and 
to  its  very  limited  power.     It  could  not  take  any  important 
action  without  the  agreement  of  nine  States ;  it  could  not 
impose  a  tax  of  any  sort,  or  enforce  its  laws  except  through 
the  State  authorities. 

62  Shay's  Rebellion.     After  the  Revolution  the  States 
passed  through   a  time  of  profound  economic  depression. 
The  circulating  medium  was  in  hopeless  confusion,  paper 
money  nearly  worthless,  specie  withdrawn  from  circulation. 
The  markets  were  glutted  with   English  goods,  the  taxes 
high,  and  the  laws  against  debtors  very  severe.     Popular 
risings  occurred  in  Pennsylvania,  New  York,  New  Hamp 
shire,  and  especially  in  Western  Massachusetts  under  Dan 
iel  Shay  in   1786-7.     The  object  of  this  rebellion  was  to 
close  the  courts,  to  stop  the  collection  of  debts  and  taxes, 
and  to  secure  favorable  legislation.     The  State  militia  put 
down  the  rising  without  bloodshed. 

65  Adoption  of  the  Constitution.  Jefferson  later  (see 
page  227)  enthusiastically  adopted  a  modification  of  the 
absolute  rejection  of  the  Constitution  by  the  four  latest 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

conventions,  by  which  the  States  adopted  the  Constitution, 
but  recommended  amendments  equivalent  to  a  Declaration 
of  Rights.  These  were  later  adopted  as  the  first  ten  Amend 
ments.  Jefferson  at  first  (see  page  231)  advocated  a  Presi 
dential  term  of  seven  years,  without  reelection,  and  later  a 
term  of  four  years,  with  two  terms  as  the  maximum.  (See 
also  pages  67,  279-) 

72  The  French  Revolution.  Jefferson's  political  the 
ories  were  profoundly  modified  by  his  contact  with  the 
French  Revolution  in  its  earlier  and  better  stages.  (See 
page  74.) 

80  Hamilton's  Finance — Post-Roads.  This  first  extract 
in  which  the  opposition  of  Hamilton  and  Jefferson  appears, 
should  be  read,  like  many  of  those  which  follow,  in  the 
light  of  that  opposition.  Jefferson  was  not  a  great  finan 
cier,  and  his  criticism,  though  perfectly  sincere,  is  of  minor 
value  from  a  financial  point  of  view.  The  apprehensions 
of  Jefferson  as  to  the  abuse  of  public  improvements  have 
proved  only  too  well  founded ;  his  attitude  toward  their 
constitutionality  plainly  foreshadows  the  strict  construc- 
tionist  policy.  But  compare  pages  170,  259,  279- 

85  On  the  Constitutionality  of  a  National  Bank.  The 
divergence  in  political  theory  between  Hamilton  and  Jeffer 
son  came  to  a  head  on  this  question.  Washington  asked 
his  Cabinet  to  express  their  opinions  in  writing,  and  Jef 
ferson's  is  given  in  the  selection.  It  was  the  first  definite 
statement  of  the  strict  constructionist  view  of  the  Consti 
tution  and  served  as  a  party  platform.  The  practical  dan 
gers  of  a  strong  National  Bank  are  well  stated  on  pages 

95  Party  Politics.  This  letter,  which  purports  to  be  a 
petition  to  Washington  to  serve  a  second  term,  was  really 
an  attack  on  the  Federalist  policy  of  Hamilton.  It  is  of 
great  importance  as  outlining  the  specific  issue  between 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

Hamilton  and  Jefferson  in  1792,  when  the  political  parties 
were  just  crystallizing.  Jefferson's  belief  that  a  National 
Debt  was  a  tremendously  dangerous  means  of  corruption 
appears  repeatedly  in  his  writings  (e.g.  page  126); 
the  injustice  of  such  debt  to  posterity  is  forcibly  pre 
sented  on  page  219-  Gallatin,  Jefferson's  Secretary  of  the 
Treasury,  reduced  the  debt  to  a  minimum,  but  the  commer 
cial  difficulties  leading  to  the  war  of  1812  prevented  its 

103  Twenty-four  Years  of  Public  Service.     1769—1775, 
Virginia  House  of  Burgesses;   1775,  Virginia  Convention; 
1775-1776,    Continental    Congress;     1776-1778,    Virginia 
Assembly;    1779-1781,  Governor  of  Virginia;   1782-1784, 
Congress    of   the    Confederation;    178-1—1789,    Minister   to 
France;  1790-1793,  Secretary  of  State. 

104  Report  on    Trade  and   the   Tariff.      Interesting  as 
indorsing  a  tariff  that  was  to  be  incidentally  protective  in 
character.     Protection  did  not  become  a  political  issue  until 
after  the  war  of  1812. 

110  Jay  Treaty.     This  treaty  with  Great  Britain  was 
intrinsically   very   unsatisfactory,    but    probably    the    most 
favorable  that  could  be  procured  at  the  time,  and  as  such 
the  Senate  ratified  it.     The  House,  however,  very  nearly 
succeeded  in  defeating  it  by  withholding  the  appropriations 
to   carry    it    out.      Jefferson's    theory    of    the    participation 
of  the   House  in  the  treaty-making  power  has   not  found 
favor   with  constitutional  writers  nor  been   established   in 

111  Mazzei  Letter.     This  extract,  the  end  of  a  long 
letter  of  a  personal  nature,  was  published  in  the  Federalist 
newspapers,  and  served  as  a  text  for  some  of  the  most  vio 
lent   denunciations   of  his   career.      He   was   charged   with 
referring  to  Washington,  Adams,  and  others  as  "apostates" 
and  supporters  of  monarchy. 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

112  "P  instead  of  A."  The  reference  is  an  intrigue 
of  Hamilton  to  withhold  votes  from  Adams  and  thus  secure 
the  election  of  Thomas  Pinckney,  the  Federalist  candidate 
for  Vice-President. 

115  Relations  rvith  Great  Britain.  In  1797  relations 
both  with  Great  Biitain  and  France  were  very  strained 
because  of  depredations  on  American  commerce,  and  in  the 
case  of  England,  the  imprisonment  of  American  sailors. 
The  Federalists  clamored  for  war  with  France,  while  the 
Republicans  regarded  England  as  the  chief  offender.  (See 
page  118.) 

122  Newspaper  Libels.     The  license  of  the  press,  from 
which  Washington  himself  was  not  exempt,  was  almost  un 
limited  in  the  early  years  of  the   Republic.     The  private 
characters  of  the  leading  men  were  blackened  by  the  most 
barefaced  libels.     Porcupine  and  Fenno  were  the  leading 
Federalist  editors  and  pamphleteers,  at  whose  attacks  Jef 
ferson  suffered  keenly  despite  his   attempt  at  philosophic 
calm.     (See  also  page  175.) 

123  ...  "unwise"  .  .  .  This    is    the    reading    of    the 
edition   of    1829   and   of   the   Congressional   edition.      But 
George   Tucker,   in   the   Southern   Literary   Magazine   for 
May  1838  (vol.  iv.  p.  344)  asserts  that  the  correct  reading 
was  "unusual,"  and  that  the  error  was  due  to  the  fading 
of  the  letter.     Jefferson's  copy  of  the  letter  was  destroyed 
before  that  date,  so  the  emendation  cannot  be  fully  estab 

123  Sectional  Politics.  For  an  explanation  of  the  con 
ditions  to  which  this  letter  refers,  see  the  note  on  "Kentucky 
Resolutions,"  page  127. 

127  Kentucky  Resolutions.  The  way  in  which  Jeffer 
son  came  to  draft  these  resolutions  for  the  Kentucky  Legis 
lature  is  clearly  explained  by  Jefferson  in  the  selection  on 
page  270.  The  occasion  for  the  resolutions  was  the  legis- 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

lation  referred  to  in  the  text;  legislation  unwise,  unjust, 
and  probably  unconstitutional.  These  laws  were  directed 
primarily  against  the  small  but  very  active  group  of  French 
and  English  refugees  who  were  the  main-stay  of  the  Repub 
licans  in  the  newspaper  world.  Besides  making  naturaliza 
tion  very  difficult,  the  laws  empowered  the  President  to 
transport  aliens  in  time  of  peace,  provided  for  the  exile 
of  aliens  in  time  of  war,  and  widened  the  definition  of 
sedition  to  include  newspaper  attacks  on  the  Executive  or 
Congress.  The  resolutions  were  adopted  in  their  entirety 
by  Kentucky  in  1799-  With  the  more  moderate  Virginia 
Resolutions  of  Madison,  they  were  the  armory  of  the  strict 
constructionist  and  State  Rights  party  until  the  Civil  War. 
It  is  not  clear  that  Jefferson  regarded  secession  as  a 
peaceful  and  legal  remedy;  certainly  he  did  not  advo 
cate  secession  in  1798;  the  doctrine  of  peaceful  seces 
sion,  however,  could  be  and  was  logically  deduced  from 
them.  In  1798,  however,  the  Resolutions  were  intended 
as  a  formal  protest  (see  page  123).  Two  copies  of 
these  resolutions  are  preserved  among  the  manuscripts 
of  the  author,  both  in  his  own  handwriting.  One  is 
a  rough  draft,  and  the  other  very  neatly  and  carefully 
prepared.  The  probability  is,  that  they  are  the  orig 
inal  of  the  celebrated  Kentucky  Resolutions  on  the  same 

135  First  Inaugural  Address.  This  was  perhaps  the 
most  characteristic  address  of  Jefferson,  revealing  at  once 
the  far-sighted  statesman  and  the  wonderful  political  tac 
tician.  The  policy  or  ideal  of  government  outlined  on  pages 
138  and  139  would  be  enthusiastically  subscribed  to  by 
Americans  of  all  periods,  while  the  graceful  appeal  to 
forget  party  differences,  and  the  studious  avoidance  of  the 
earlier  doctrines  of  1798  were  well  calculated  to  disarm 
his  opponents. 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

140  Letter  to  the  Senate.  In  communicating  his  first 
message  to  Congress,  President  Jefferson  addressed  this 
letter  to  the  presiding  officer  of  each  branch  of  the  national 

153  The  Constitutionality  of  the  Louisiana  Purchase. 
Jefferson  always  believed  that  the  purchase  of  Louisiana 
was  necessary,  but  unconstitutional,  because  beyond  the 
delegated  powers.  On  receiving  the  news  of  the  successful 
negotiations  he  at  once  drafted  an  elaborate  amendment  to 
the  Constitution;  in  August,  1803,  another  and  briefer  one. 
But  his  own  Cabinet  and  leading  supporters  dissuaded  him 
from  appealing  to  Congress,  and  Monroe  at  Paris  urged 
a  speedy  ratification.  Jefferson  reluctantly  sacrificed  his 
own  beliefs  to  the  good  of  the  nation,  and  contented  him 
self  with  the  tacit  consent  of  the  people.  The  Purchase 
was  the  death  blow  of  strict  construction  in  the  original, 
literal  sense. 

160  The  Danger  of  the  National  Bank  to  the  Govern 
ment.  The  arguments  here  presented  were  practically 
identical  with  those  on  which  Jackson  later  successfully 
attacked  the  second  Bank.  In  both  cases  the  arguments 
were  sound  although  the  hostility  was  the  more  bitter  be 
cause  the  Bank  was  controlled  by  the  enemies  of  the  Ad 
ministration.  In  his  suggestion  that  the  United  States  do 
its  own  banking,  Jefferson  anticipated  the  principle  of  the 
present  Independent  Treasury  system. 

162  Death  of  daughter.  Jefferson's  daughter  Mary, 
born  at  Monticello,  Aug.  1,  1778,  was  described  by  Mrs. 
John  Quincy  Adams  as  "one  of  the  most  beautiful  and 
remarkable  children  she  had  ever  seen."  She  married  her 
cousin  John  Wayles  Epps,  but  her  health  was  delicate  and 
she  died  at  the  age  of  26,  on  Apl.  17,  1804.  (Compare 
page  164.) 

162  Attempted  reconciliation  with  Adams.  Mrs.  Adams 

NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

proved  implacable,  and  refused  to  respond  to  the  advances 
of  Jefferson.  The  circumstances  of  the  quarrel  are  ex 
plained  in  the  note  on  page  196. 

168  Second  Inaugural  Address.  It  is  interesting  to 
note  how  four  years  of  power  had  broadened  Jefferson's 
conception  of  the  legitimate  activity  of  the  Federal  Gov 
ernment.  National  aid,  through  the  states,  was  now  advo 
cated  for  public  improvements,  manufactures,  and  educa 
tion.  The  letter  of  strict  construction  was  preserved  in 
the  demand  for  a  specific  amendment  to  the  Constitution, 
but  the  ideal  of  government  differs  little  from  that  of 
Washington  and  Adams.  See  pages  259,  279- 

178  Proposed  Alliance  with  Great  Britain.  The  dispute 
with  Spain  referred  to  arose  over  the  indefinite  boundaries 
of  the  Louisiana  Purchase,  the  United  States  claiming 
West  Florida,  and  desiring  East  Florida.  As  Spain's  re 
fusal  to  yield  was  backed  up  by  Napoleon,  Jefferson  pro 
posed  that  Great  Britain  fight  our  battles  for  us.  The 
proposal  came  to  nothing. 

183  Thomas  Jefferson  Randolph.  Grandson  of  Jeffer 
son  and  editor  of  his  "Memoirs,  Correspondence  and  Mis 
cellanies,"  4  vols.,  published  in  Boston  1830. 

196  The  Break  tvith  Adams.  This  account  of  the 
unfortunate  estrangement  between  Adams  and  Jefferson  is 
supplemented  by  the  selections  on  pages  54,  112,  113,  114, 
162.  Dr.  Rush  and  other  mutual  friends  finally  succeeded 
in  bringing  these  two  old  friends  together  (page  208)  and 
they  remained  firm  friends  and  constant  correspondents. 
Their  deaths  on  the  same  day,  July  4,  1826,  was  a  dra 
matic  ending  of  the  friendship. 

204  Federalists  and  Republicans.  This  description  of 
political  parties  in  1812  shows  the  progress  of  the  fusion 
of  parties  so  ardently  desired  by  Jefferson  in  his  first  In 
augural.  It  shows  also  the  fundamental  political  convic- 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

tions  of  Jefferson  better  than  the  Kentucky  Resolutions 
(page  127). 

208     Reconciliation  with  Adams.     See  note  on  page  196. 

214  English  Common  Law  in  America.  This  was  en 
tirely  consistent  with  Jefferson's  views  in  1776,  that  the 
Colonists  had  all  the  rights  of  men  and  of  Englishmen, 
and  that  the  Colonies  were  not  dependent  on  King  or  Par 
liament,  but  coordinate  parts  of  the  British  Empire. 

217  Practical  Politics.  The  improvability  of  the  hu 
man  mind  and  of  institutions  was  the  very  foundation  of 
Jeffersonian  democracy.  He  himself  believed  that  the 
progress  of  science  and  knowledge  was  the  chief  factor  in 
such  improvement. 

21Q  Finance,  Debt,  etc.  The  national  finances  had 
fallen  into  hopeless  confusion  during  the  war  of  1812,  and 
under  existing  circumstances  Jefferson's  proposal  of  no 
loan  without  a  specific  tax  and  drastic  reform  of  paper 
money  were  probably  sound.  His  theory  of  the  limitation 
of  the  liability  for  the  National  Debt  to  nineteen  years 
must,  of  course,  be  taken  as  applying  to  the  morality  and 
justice  of  the  obligation,  not  as  a  plea  for  repudiation. 

226     Political  History.     Compare  pages  217  and  280. 

231  Massachusetts  Politics.  The  war  of  1812,  although 
waged  to  protect  American  commerce,  was  exceedingly  un 
popular  in  the  commercial  states  of  New  England.  The 
action  of  Massachusetts  referred  to  was  her  refusal  to 
furnish  militia  for  service  outside  of  the  state.  The  New 
England  opposition  culminated  in  the  Hartford  Conven 
tion,  which  dissolved  amid  general  ridicule  on  the  conclusion 
of  peace  in  1815. 

233  The  Monroe  Doctrine  Foreshadowed.  In  this  let 
ter,  as  in  the  farewell  address  of  Washington,  may  be 
seen  the  principle  of  the  specific  declaration  of  Monroe 
— America  for  Americans,  and  no  entanglements  with 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

Europe.     Jefferson  heartily  commended  Monroe's  message 
(page  276). 

242  Comparison  of  Great  Britain  and  the  United  Statet. 
Compare  note  on  page  41. 

246  "Our  Institution."     The  University  of  Virginia,  to 
whose   foundation   and   success   Jefferson   devoted   the   last 
years  of  his  life. 

247  The  Banking  Mania.      In  the   financial   confusion 
and  depression  during  and  following  the  war  of  1812  the 
people   sought   relief   in   the   multiplication   of   banks   and 
paper  money.     These  banks  were  chartered  by  the  states 
without  any  restriction  as  to  specie  reserve  or  emission  of 
bank  notes,  and  collapsed  by  the  hundred  in  the  panic  of 
1819-     After  that  sound  banking  principles  were  gradually 
established  by  the  states  by  general  legislation. 

248  Local  Government.     The  local  government  of  Vir 
ginia  was  practically  unaltered  by  the  Revolution,  and  the 
parish  and  county  governments  were  still  in  the  hands  of 
the  leading  families.     Jefferson's  last  years  were  devoted 
to    three    objects    closely    related    in    his    own    mind:    The 
University  of  Virginia  (page  2 16)  ;  a  comprehensive  public 
school  system,  adopted  in  principle;  and  a  system  of  local 
government   directly   controlled   by   the   people.      The   last 
was  not  fully  developed  until  reconstruction  times. 

250  The  South  American  Colonies.  During  the  Na 
poleonic  regime  the  Spanish  Colonies  in  America  were 
practically  independent,  and  after  the  restoration  of  the 
Bourbon  king  in  Spain  in  1815  revolted  against  his  arbi 
trary  rule.  The  younger  statesmen  of  the  United  States, 
particularly  Henry  Clay,  clamored  for  an  immediate  recog 
nition  of  their  independence,  if  not  for  open  assistance  to 
them,  but  recognition  was  wisely  deferred  until  1821. 

259  The  proposition  under  consideration  at  Washington 
was  national  aid  to  the  National  Colonization  Society.  In 


NOTES     ON     THE     TEXT 

1819  Congress  appropriated  $100,000  to  carry  back  to 
Africa  slaves  captured  on  the  high  seas,  and  in  1821 
founded  the  negro  colony  of  Liberia. 

259  Public  Improvements.  See  note  on  the  Second  In 
augural  Address  (page  168). 

263  The  Supreme  Court.  Jefferson's  criticism  of  the 
Supreme  Court  arose  from  three  sources:  He  regarded  the 
court  as  essentially  anti-republican  because  the  judges  were 
not  immediately  dependent  on  the  people  (compare  selec 
tion  on  page  254)  ;  he  believed  that  power  of  the  court  to 
pass  on  the  constitutionality  of  the  acts  of  the  Executive 
and  the  Legislature  was  contrary  to  the  principle  of  the 
separation  of  the  departments ;  he  saw  clearly  that  the  court 
as  it  existed,  dominated  by  John  Marshall,  was  undermin 
ing  the  principle  of  strict  construction. 

26-1  Possibility  of  Secession.  The  reference,  of  course, 
was  to  the  struggle  over  the  admission  of  Missouri  to  the 

267  Corruption  of  the  Teachings  of  Jesus.  Jefferson 
himself  winnowed  out  of  the  New  Testament  what  he  con 
sidered  the  genuine  teachings  of  Jesus,  and  the  compilation 
has  been  published  as  "Jefferson's  Bible."  His  religious 
views  exposed  him  to  the  charge  of  atheism  in  his  own  time, 
but  to-day  would  not  excite  especial  comment. 

269  The  Spoils  System.  The  "mischievous  law"  was 
the  law  usually  known  as  "Crawford's  Act,"  passed  in 
1820,  limiting  the  term  of  appointment  of  attorneys,  col 
lectors,  etc.,  to  four  years.  This  is  considered  the  beginning 
of  the  "Spoils  System"  in  national  politics,  although  the 
officials  were  ordinarily  reappointed  until  the  inauguration 
of  Jackson. 

279  Proposed  amendments  to  the  Constitution.  These 
amendments  were  not  even  adopted  by  Congress. 



Memoirs,  Correspondence  and  Miscellanies.  By  Thomas 
Jefferson  Randolph.  4  vols.  Boston  1830. 

Writings  of  Thomas  Jefferson.  Edited  by  Henry  A.  Wash 
ington.  9  vols.  Washington  1853. 

Writings  of  Thomas  Jefferson.  Edited  by  Paul  Leicester 
Ford.  10  vols.  New  York  1892-99. 

Writings  of  Thomas  Jefferson.  Published  under  the  au 
spices  of  the  Thomas  Jefferson  Memorial  Society. 
20  vols.  Washington  1904. 

Life  of  Jefferson.  George  Tucker.  2  vols.  Philadelphia 

Life  of  Jefferson.  H.  S.  Randall.  3  vols.  New  York 

Domestic  Life  of  Thomas  Jefferson.  S.  N.  Randolph. 
New  York  1871. 

Life  of  Thomas  Jefferson.     James    Parton.     Boston    1874. 

Life  of  Thomas  Jefferson.     J.  T.  Morse  Jr.     Boston  1883. 

Life  of  Thomas  Jefferson.     J.  Schouler.     New  York  1897. 

Life  of  Thomas  Jefferson.     H.   C.   Merwin.     Boston    1901. 

The  True  Thomas  Jefferson.  W.  E.  Curtis.  Philadelphia 

Works  of  Alexander  Hamilton.  Edited  by  Henry  Cabot 

Life  of  Alexander  Hamilton.     By  Henry  Cabot  Lodge. 



Adams,  John,  characterization  of, 
56,  201-202;  accused  of  being 
"Publicola,"  94;  candidate  for 
President,  112;  influenced  by 
Hamilton,  115;  relations  with 
Jefferson,  113,  114-115;  Jeffer 
son  advances  reconciliation,  162- 
164 ;  account  of  break  with  Jeffer 
son,  196-202,  228-229;  on  con 
stitution  of  Great  Britain,  197. 

Adams,  John  Quincy;  answer  to 
"Rights  of  Man,"  281. 

Adams,  Samuel,  tribute  to,  141- 

Admiration,  clothes  and,  9. 

Advice,  ethics  of,  36. 

"Agricola,"  Jefferson  accused  of 
being,  94. 

Agriculture,  commerce  and,  40-42; 
science  of  first  order,  158. 

D'Alembert,  mentioned,  239. 

Alexander  of  Russia,  characteriza 
tion  of,  196. 

Alien  and  sedition  laws,  271 ;  draft 
of  resolutions,  127-134;  constitu 
tionality  of,  126. 

Alien  influence  in  American  com 
merce,  116. 

Alienage,  laws  of,  national  bank 
and,  86. 

American  character,  62. 

American  commerce,  trade  in  home 
bottoms,  75;  alien  influence  in, 

American  finance,  219-226,  247- 
248;  internal  revenue,  169. 

American  genius,  art  of  war,  24; 
astronomy,  24;  physics,  24. 

American  men,  46. 

American  poetry,  24. 

American  politics,  217-218,  226- 
230 ;  monarchical  tendencies, 
111;  in  1798,  122;  sectional  dis 
sensions,  123 ;  danger  of  disunion, 
124;  in  1790,  281. 
See  also  Antifederalists,  Federal 
ists,  Republican  party. 

American  system,  277. 

Anglo-American  alliance,  178-179; 
in  event  of  French  taking 
New  Orleans,  143;  desirable, 

Annexation,  constitutionality,  154. 

Antifederalists,  join  Republicans, 

Arbitration,  49. 

Argand,  lamp  of,  90. 

Argument,  Jefferson  on,  185. 

Artisan,  as  a  citizen,  40. 

Atheism,  morality  of,  238. 

Bank  of  the  United  States,  85-89, 

Bank  notes,  unlimited  emission  de 
preciates  specie,  226 ;  prohibition 
of,  247. 

Banks,  danger  to  Government,  160- 
161;  alienators  of  nation's  re- 



sources,  223;  evil  influence  of, 

Barbary  States,  European  peace 
alliance,  49. 

Beaujolois,  France,  chateau  de 
Laye-Epinaye,  58. 

Beckley,  John,  mentioned,  93. 

Blackstone,  characterization  of, 

Books,  reality  and,  12. 

Bourbon,  house  of;  characteriza 
tion,  196. 

Boys,  education  of,  36-40. 

Brutus,  Jefferson  accused  of  being, 

Buffon's  tables,  220. 

Burr,  Aaron,  mentioned,  199. 

Burvvell,  Rebecca,  loved  by  Jeffer 
son,  11. 

Bushnell,  Mr.,  of  Connecticut, 
mentioned,  35. 

Calvinism,  274. 

Canals,  congressional  authority  to 
open,  88. 

Canning,  opinion  on  Anglo-Ameri 
can  alliance,  277. 

Carr,  Mrs.  Dabney,  mentioned, 

Catherine  of  Russia,  characteriza 
tion  of,  196. 

Celtic  language,  Jefferson's  at 
tempt  to  acquire,  14. 

Centralization  of  government,  249. 

Chase,  Samuel,  appointment  as 
judge  of  Supreme  Court,  111. 

Chateau  de  Laye-Epinaye,  Beaujo 
lois,  58. 

Chesapeake  affair,  213. 

Christian  VII,  King  of  Denmark, 
estimate  of,  196. 

Church  and  State,  29. 

Cincinnati,  Order  of,  European 
conception  of,  50-5 1 ;  influences 
monarchical  tendencies  in  Amer 
ica,  51. 

Cities,  corruption  of,  134,  160,  167; 
growth  of,  134. 

Citizens,  most  valuable  classes  of, 

Citizenship,  educational  qualifica 
tion  for,  253. 

Civil  jurisdiction,  over  food,  in 
France,  30;  over  medicine,  in 
France,  30;  over  expression  of 
scientific  theories  in  France,  30; 
in  Italy,  30;  over  religion  in 
Rome,  29. 

Climate,  effect  of  warm  climates,  28. 

Clinton,  George,  mentioned,  203. 

Coke,  mentioned,  8,  216. 

Colbert,  mentioned,  59. 

Commerce,    104-107;    agriculture 
and,  40-42. 
See  also  American  commerce. 

Common  law  of  England  in  Amer 
ica,  214-217. 

Condorcet,  mentioned,  239. 

Conduct,  Jefferson  on,  283-284. 

Connecticut,  political  influence  in 
1798,  123-124. 

Constitution,  adoption  of,  67-6?; 
objections  to,  69-70. 

Constitutional  amendment,  pro 
hibiting  Federal  Government  to 
borrow,  126;  on  slavery,  289. 

Constitutional  amendments,  Jeffer 
son  on,  279-280. 



Constitutionality  of  alien  and  sedi 
tion  laws,  126;  of  annexation, 
154 ;  of  Federal  power  for  internal 
improvement,  88,  259-260,  280, 
288;  of  the  Louisiana  purchase, 
153-155;  of  a  national  bank,  85- 
89;  of  prescribing  religious  exer 
cises,  181-182. 

Cow-pea,  agricultural  advantages 
of,  120. 

Credit,  national,  American,  71; 
English,  70. 

Credit  system,  American,  62. 

Creek  Indians,  148. 

Crop  rotation,  Jefferson  on,  120- 

Cuba,  annexation  of,  192-193,  272- 

Cuyahoga  canal,  79. 

Deane,  Silas,  mentioned,  117. 

Dearborn,  General  Henry,  men 
tioned,  177. 

Declaration  of  Independence,  text 
of,  16-22. 

Declaration  of  rights,  68-73. 

Deism,  239. 

Denny,  editor  of  "Portfolio," 
monarchical  preferences  of,  282. 

Descartes,  mentioned,  30. 

Descents,  course  of,  national  bank 
and,  86. 

Diderot,  mentioned,  239. 

Discriminating  duties,  106. 

Disputation,  Jefferson  on,  185. 

Distribution,  laws  of,  national  bank 
and,  86. 

Divers,  Mr.,  mentioned,  214. 

Domestic  pleasures,  Jefferson  on, 

52,  67, 103-104. 
Donald,     Alexander,     mentioned, 

Dupont  de  Nemours,  mentioned, 


Education,  109;  of  girls,  32;  of 
boys,  36-40;  English,  45;  Euro 
pean,  45-46. 

Egoism,  239-240. 

Ellsworth,  Oliver,  appointed  as 
chief  justice,  111. 

Emigrants,  German,  147;  learned 
vs.  laboring  classes,  159,  167. 

Encyclopedic  methodique,  prints 
misleading  article  on  the  Cincin 
nati,  50. 

English  interference  in  American 
commerce  and  finance,  116. 

"Entangling  alliances"  phrase, 

Eppes,  Mrs.  Francis,  mentioned, 

Escheat,  law  of,  national  bank  and, 

Essex  junto,  208,  282. 

Ethics,  comment  on,  36;  study  of, 

European  alliance  against  Barbary 
states,  49. 

European  politeness,  45;  morals, 
45;  women,  45. 

European  war,  Jefferson  on,  116. 

Farmer,  as  a  citizen,  40. 
Farming,  Jefferson  on,  119-122. 
Fast  day,  Jefferson  refuses  to  pro 
claim,  181-182. 



Federalists,  Jefferson's  opposition 
to,  77-78;  majority  in  Congress, 
98;  monarchical  party  and  seces 
sion,  100;  influence  in  securing 
presidency  for  Adams,  198; 
Jefferson  on,  204-208. 

Fenno,  John,  mentioned,  122. 

Ferdinand  IV,  King  of  Naples, 
estimate  of,  196. 

Ferdinand  VII,  King  of  Spain, 
estimate  of,  196. 

Fiction,  power  of,  12;  history  and, 

Floridas,  cession  of,  192;  com 
pensation  for  French  possession 
of  Louisiana,  145. 

Food,  government  control,  30. 

Foreign  missions,  274-275. 

Forfeiture,  law  of,  national  bank 
and,  86. 

France,  civil  jurisdiction  in,  30; 
compared  with  United  States, 
42-44;  domestic  happiness  in, 
43;  music  of,  44;  and  Barbary 
states,  49;  influence  of  women  in 
government,  74;  court  hatred  of 
parliaments,  74;  power  of  States 
General,  74;  commerce  with 
United  States,  75 ;  Lafayette  and 
the  Tiers-fitat,  79-80;  relations 
with  United  States,  142-145. 

Franklin,  Benjamin,  estimate  of, 
24;  lamp  invented  by,  90;  Mes- 
mer  and,  90;  French  people's  re 
spect  for,  90;  Vergennes'  regard 
for  him,  91 ;  amiability  of,  185. 

Frankliniana,  89-92. 

Freedom  of  religion,  29,  170. 

Freedom  of  the  press,  166. 

French   interference   in   American 

commerce  and  finance,  116. 
French  language,  value  of  knowing, 


French  literature,  43. 
French  manners,  44. 
French  people,  temperate  habits  of, 

French  revolution,  102;  American 

influence  on,  76-77. 
French  women,  life  of,  57 ;  influence 

in  government,  74. 
Friends,  Society  of,  275. 
Friendship,  Jefferson  on,  204. 

Galileo,  mentioned,  30. 

Gallatin,  Albert,  and  American 
finance,  82. 

George  III,  of  England,  characteri 
zation  of,  196. 

German  colonization  in  Virginia, 
66;  immigrants,  147. 

Girls,  education  of,  32. 

Government,  theory  of,  54. 

Government  control;  see  Civil 

Gravitation,  law  of,  mentioned, 

Great  Britain,  Barbary  states  and, 
49;  war  with  Spain,  85;  inter 
ference  in  American  affairs,  102; 
negotiations  with  United  States 
affected  by  Washington's  retire 
ment,  102;  trade  with  United 
States,  106;  Anglo- American 
alliance,  178-179;  Adams  and 
Hamilton  on  British  constitution, 
197;  sea  power,  211;  relations 
with  United  States,  212-214; 



compared   with   United   States, 

Grief,  2.52. 

Growth  of  cities,  Jefferson  on,  134. 
Gustavus  of  Sweden,  estimate  of, 


Hamilton,  Alexander,  financial 
policy,  82;  influence  on  Adams, 
115;  anti-republican  influence, 
123;  on  British  constitution,  197; 
Julius  Ciesar  greatest  man  in 
opinion  of  Hamilton,  198;  politi 
cal  theories  of,  205;  monarchical 
preferences,  281. 

Hand,  General,  mentioned,  79. 

Happiness,  estimate  of,  9,  11. 

Harper,  Dr.,  monarchical  prefer 
ences,  283. 

Hereditary  magistracies,  108. 

History,  lesson  of,  13;  study  of,  37. 

D'llolbach,  mentioned,  239. 

Holland,  and  Barbary  states,  49. 

Holy  Alliance,  277. 

Home  consumption,  191. 

Home  and  foreign  missions,  274- 

Homogeneity  of  population,  de 
pendent  on  territorial  division, 

Honesty,  37,  109. 

Hopkinson,  Mrs.  Francis,  men 
tioned,  33. 

Horse,  utility  of,  38. 

Hotel  de  Salm,  Paris,  58. 

Howe,  General,  mentioned,  15. 

Humphreys,  Colonel  David,  men 
tioned,  35,  50,  84. 

Hunting,  as  an  exercise,  38. 

Imports,  tariff  on,  169. 

Impressment  of  seamen,  211. 

Incorporation,  congressional  power 
of,  88. 

Indian  policy  of  the  United  States, 
94-95,  148. 

Indians,  degeneracy,  170-172;  fut 
ure  of,  188-191. 

Internal  improvements,  constitu 
tionality  of  Federal  promotion  of, 
259-260,  288. 

Internal  revenue,  169. 

Italy,  civil  jurisdiction  in,  30. 

Jay  treaty,  110. 

Jefferson,  Thomas,  in  love  with 
Rebecca  Burwell,  10;  interest  in 
Celtic  language,  14;  attitude 
toward  England,  15;  retirement 
from  public  life,  23;  private 
affairs,  23 ;  ambassador  in  France 
34;  contributes  article  to  En 
cyclopedic  methodique  on  the 
Cincinnati,  50 ;  has  no  interest  in 
country  west  of  Alleghany,  55, 
at  Nismes,  58;  Secretary  of  State; 
80-81 ;  attacked  by  "Publicola," 
93;  accused  of  using  pen  name  of 
"Agricola"  and  "Brutus,"  94; 
urges  Washington  to  reconsider 
contemplated  retirement,  1 00- 
101;  public  service  of,  102-103; 
retirement  of,  103-104;  rural 
life,  107;  relations  with  John 
Adams,  113,  114-115;  as  Presi 
dent,  inaugurates  custom  of  pre 
senting  annual  message  in  writ 
ing,  140;  advances  reconciliation 
with  Adams,  162-164;  death  of 



his  daughter,  164-165;  reasons       Jefferson,  Thomas,  Letters. 

for  refusing  to  proclaim  day  of 
fasting  and  of  prayer,  181-182; 
comment  on  his  political  op 
ponents,  186;  daily  routine  at 
Monticello,  194-195;  account  of 
break  with  Adams,  196-202, 
228-229;  personalia,  202-204, 
261-263;  reconciliation  with 
Adams,  208-210;  anticipates 
Monroe  doctrine,  233-234;  phi 
losophy  of  life,  252-253 ;  religion 
of.  257-258. 

Jefferson,  Thomas,  Letters. 
to  John  Adams,  1791,  July  17. 
Letter  of  explanation,  93;  1811, 
January  21.  On  reconciliation, 
208-210;  1813,  June  15.  On 
practical  politics,  217-218; 
July  27.  On  political  history, 
226-230;  1816,  April  8.  On 
the  philosophy  of  life,  252-253; 
1823,  April  11.  On  religion, 

to  Mrs.  John  Adams,  1804,  June 
13.  Advance  toward  recon 
ciliation  with  John  Adams, 

to  Samuel  Adams,  1801,  March 
29.  Tribute  to  Samuel  Adams, 

to  Edward  Bancroft,  1788,  Jan 
uary    26.     On    emancipating 
slaves,  65. 
to  J.  Bannister,  jr.,  1785,  October 

15.    On  education,  45. 
to  Bellini,  1785,  September  30. 
On  the  superiority  of  United 
States  to  France,  42. 

to  William  B.  Bibb,  1808,  July 
28.  On  public  ownership,  182- 

to  Mrs.  Bingham,  1787,  February 
7.  Letter  of  courtesy,  57. 

to  John  Brown,  1788,  May  26. 
Navigation  of  the  Mississippi, 

to  Joseph  C.  Cabell,  1816,  Febru 
ary  2.  On  local  government, 

to  David  Campbell,  1810,  Janu 
ary  28.  On  choice  of  a  pro 
fession,  193-194. 

to  William  Carmichael,  1790, 
August  2.  On  the  Missis 
sippi,  83-85;  1791,  March  12. 
Control  of  the  Mississippi, 

to  Peter  Carr,  1785,  August  19. 
Letter  of  advice,  36. 

to  Edward  Carrington,  1787, 
January  16.  On  newspapers, 
53;  August  4.  Division  of 
authority  in  government,  63. 

to  Thomas  Cooper,  1814,  Sep 
tember  10.  Comparison  of 
Great  Britain  and  United 
States,  242-245;  October  7. 
On  courses  of  study,  246. 

to  D'lvernois,  1795,  February  6. 
Political  theory,  108. 

to  Alexander  Donald,  1787,  July 
28.  On  the  national  character, 
62;  1788,  February  [?].  On 
philosophy  of  life,  67;  Feb. 
ruary  7.  On  the  adoption  of 
the  Constitution,  67. 



Jefferson,  Thomas,  Letters. 

to  Dupont  de  Nemours,  1816, 
April  24.  On  educational 
qualification,  253. 

to  John  W.  Eppes,  1813,  July  24- 
On  finance — national  debt — 
paper  money,  219-226. 

to  Edward  Everett,  1826,  April  8. 
On  slavery,  289. 

to  Robert  Fulton,  1807,  August  6. 
On  torpedoes,  177. 

to  Albert  Gallatin,  1803,  De 
cember  13.  Danger  of  banks 
to  the  Government,  160-161; 
1815,  October  16.  On  banks, 
247-248;  1817,  June  16.  On 
internal  improvements,  259- 

to  Robert  J.  Garnett,  1824, 
February  14.  On  amend 
ments  to  the  Constitution, 

to  Elbridge  Gerry,  1797,  May  13. 
On  his  relations  with  Adams 
and  attitude  toward  England, 

to  William  B.  Giles,  1825,  De 
cember  26.  On  State  rights, 

to  Captain  Hendrick,  1808,  De 
cember  21.  Advice,  188- 

to  John  Holmes,  1820,  April  22. 
On  the  possibility  of  secession, 

to  Francis  Hopkinson,  1789, 
March  13.  On  character  of 
Washington,  78.  On  party, 


Jefferson,  Thomas,  Letters. 

to  Alexander  v.  Humboldt,  1813, 

December    6.     Monroe    doc 
trine  foreshadowed,  233-234. 
to  Dr.  Thomas  Humphreys,  1817, 

February  8.    On  slavery,  258- 


to  Andrew  Jackson,  1803,  Feb 
ruary  16.     On  Indian  policy, 

to  John  Jay,  1785,  August  23. 

On  superiority  of  agriculture 

to  commerce,  40. 
to  Martha  Jefferson,  1783,  No 
vember  28.     On  education,  32. 
to  Walter  Jones,  1814,  January  2. 

On  character  of  Washington, 

to  Rufus  King,   1807,  July  13. 

Colonization  of  slaves  in  Sierra 

Leone,  146-148. 
to  General  Knox,  179T,  August 

10.     On    a    national    Indian 

policy,  94. 
to  Thaddeus  Kosciusko,   1810, 

Fel  ruary  26.    On  his  manner 

of  life,  194-195. 
to    Lafayette,    1787,    April    [?]. 

Travel  and  science,  60. 
to  John  Langdon,  1810,  March  5. 

On  the  breeding  of  kings,  195- 

to  Thomas  Law,  1814,  June  13. 

On  basis  of  morality,  238-242. 
to  Thomas  Ixjiper,  1809,  January 

21.     On  manufactures,   191- 

to  James  Lewis,  jr.,  1798,  May  9. 

On  newspaper  libels,  122-123. 


Jefferson,  Thomas,  Letters. 

to  Mr.  Lithson,  1805,  January 
4.  Qualifies  condemnation  of 
cities  and  manufactures,  167- 

to  Robert  E.  Livingston,  1802, 
April  18.  Policy  as  to  pur 
chase  of  Louisiana,  142-145. 

to  Charles  McPherson,  1773, 
February  25.  Opinion  of 
Ossian,  13. 

to  James  Madison,  1787,  January 
30.  On  theory  of  government 
and  on  Louisiana,  53;  Char 
acter  of  John  Adams,  56;  1788, 
May  3.  National  credit,  70— 
72;  1790,  March  6.  On  Hamil 
ton's  finance,  post-roads,  82- 
83;  1793,  June  9.  On  obliga 
tions  to  public  service  and  the 
simple  life,  102;  1796,  Decem 
ber  17.  On  Adams  for  Presi 
dent,  112;  1797,  January  30. 
On  las  relations  to  Adams,  113; 
1805,  August  27.  Proposed 
alliance  with  Great  Britain, 
178-179;  1809,  April  27.  On 
annexation  of  Cuba,  192-193; 
1820,  November  29.  On  the 
spoils  system,  269-270. 
to  James  Martin,  1813,  Sep 
tember  20.  On  term  of  office 
and  Massachusetts  politics, 

to  James  Maury,  1812,  April 
25.  On  foreign  affairs,  210- 

to  Philip  Mazzei,  1796,  April  26. 
On  party  lines,  111. 


Jefferson,  Thomas,  Letters, 
to  Michael  Megear,  1823,  May 
29.     On   home   and    foreign 
missions,  275-276. 
to  John  Melish,  1812,  January 
13.     On  Federalists  and  Re 
publicans,  204-208. 
to  Samuel  Miller,   1808,  Janu 
ary  23.    Reasons  for  refusing 
to  proclaim  a  fast,  181-182. 
to   James  Monroe,    1782,   May 
20.    On  retiring  from  public 
life,  23;  1785,  June,  17.     On 
expenses  in  Paris,   34;    1786, 
July  9.    On  new  States,  46; 
August  11.    Doctrine  of  force 
in  Barbary   states,    48;     De 
cember  18.   On  the  simple  life, 
52;     1796,    March    21.      Jay 
treaty,  110;  1816,  February  4. 
On    aiding    South   American 
colonies    of    Spain,    250-252. 
1823,  June  23.     On   annexa 
tion  of  Cuba,  272-273;  Octo 
ber    24.       On    the    Monroe 
doctrine,  276-2',  8. 
to  John  Page,  1762,  December 
25.   On  a  juvenile  experience, 
7;    1763,    July    15.      On   an 
affair  of  the  heart,  10;  1804, 
June  25.    On  the  loss  of  his 
daughter,  164-165. 
to   Mann    Page,    1795,   August 
30.     Fxlucation,    rogues,  and 
honest  men,  109. 

to  Dr.  Richard  Price,  1785,  Au 
gust  7.  On  slavery,  35;  1789, 
January  8.  American  influence 
on  French  Revolution,  76-77. 


Jefferson,  Thomas,  Letters. 

to  John  Randolph,  1775,  No 
vember  29.  Attitude  toward 
England,  15. 

to  Dr.  Spencer  Roane,  1819, 
September  6.  On  the  Supreme 
Court,  263-264. 

to  Benjamin  Rush,  1800,  Sep 
tember  23.  On  yellow  fever 
and  growth  of  cities,  134; 
1803,  April  21.  On  religion, 
149;  1808,  January  3.  In 
troducing  his  grandson;  esti 
mate  of  character,  179;  1811, 
January  16.  Account  of  break 
with  Adams,  196-202;  August 
17.  Personalia,  202-204. 

to  Edward  Rutledge,  1787,  July 
14.  On  rice  culture,  71.  Sup 
pression  of  slave  trade,  62; 
1797,  June  27.  On  the  posi 
tion  of  the  United  States,  118- 

to  William  Short,  1793,  Janu 
ary  3.  On  the  French  Revolu 
tion,  102 ;  1820,  August  4. 
On  religion,  266-269;  1825, 
January  8.  Concerning  party 
names  and  purposes,  280- 

to  Robert  Skipwith,  1771,  August 
3.  On  books,  12. 

to  Colonel  Smith,  1787,  No 
vember  13.  Apropos  Shay's 
rebellion,  64. 

to  Mrs.  M.  Harrison  Smith, 
1816,  August  6.  Concerning 
his  religion,  257-258. 

to  Thomas  Jefferson  Smith,  1825, 

Jefferson,  Thomas,  Letters. 

February  21.      Rules  of  con 
duct,  283-285. 

to  Hyde  de  Neuville,  1818,  De 
cember  13.  On  the  tax  on 
wine,  260-261. 

to  George  Nicholas,  1821,  De 
cember  11.  On  the  Kentucky 
resolutions,  270-272. 

to  Wilson  C.  Nicholas,  1803, 
September  7.  Constitutional 
ity  of  Louisiana  purchase,  153— 

to  John  Norvell,  1807,  June  11. 
Conduct  of  a  newspaper,  175- 

to  Dr.  Ezra  Styles,  1785,  July  17. 
On  the  screw  propeller,  34. 

to  John  Taylor,  1798,  June  1. 
On  sectional  politics,  possi 
bility  of  division,  123-125; 
November  26.  On  public 
debt,  126;  1816,  May  28.  On 
the  true  republic,  254-257. 

to  Comtesse  de  Tesse,  1787, 
March  20.  Art  et  la  politesse, 

to  John  Tyler,  1804,  June  28. 
On  politics,  166;  1812,  June 
17.  On  the  English  common 
law  in  America,  214-217. 

to  Dr.  Nine  Utley,  1819,  March 
21.  On  personal  religion,  261- 

to  George  Washington,  1786,  No 
vember  14.  On  the  Cincin 
nati,  50;  1788,  May  2.  Po 
tomac  canal,  European  affairs 
and  the  Constitution,  69-70; 



Jefferson,  Thomas,  Letters. 

December  4.  On  foreign  af 
fairs,  commerce,  73-76;  1789, 
May  10.  On  political  consis 
tency,  79-80.  On  canals, 
Congress,  returns,  78-79; 
December  15.  On  his  ap 
pointment  as  Secretary  of 
State,  80-81;  1792,  May  23. 
Obligations  and  discomforts 
of  public  office,  95-102;  1795, 
April  25.  Rural  life,  107. 

to  David  Williams,  1803,  No- 
vemlx?r  14.  On  learning  and 
agriculture,  157-160. 

to  William  Wirt,  1808,  January 
10.  Urging  him  to  run  for 
Congress,  180-181. 

to  Miss  Frances  Wright,  1825, 
August  7.  On  slavery,  285. 


1st  inaugural,  135-140. 
2d  inaugural,  168-175. 
3d  annual,  155-157. 
8th  annual,  valedictory,  187. 

Notes    on    Virginia;     see    that 

Jesus  Christ,  syllabus  on  estimate 

of  the  merit  of  doctrines  of,  150- 

153;  character  of,  266. 
Jews,  character  of,   125;  religious 

rites  of,   268;    religious    system 

of,  151. 
Joseph  I,  of  Austria,  estimate  of, 

Justinian's  institutes,  216. 

Kentucky,  political  sympathy  with 
Virginia,  271. 

Kentucky  resolutions,  Jefferson  on, 

Kings,  breeding  of,  195-196. 

Lafayette,  mentioned,  50;  Repub 
lican  principles,  79-80. 
Language,  impossible  to  write  two 

languages  perfectly,  46. 
Languedoc  canal,  69. 
Law,  profession  of,  193. 
Legal  tender,  paper  money  not  a, 


Libels,  newspaper,  122,  172-173. 
Liberty  of  conscience,  29,  170;  of 

the  press,  166. 

Lindsay,  Mr.,  mentioned,  214. 
Littleton  E.,  mentioned,  216. 
Ixians  and  taxation,  222. 
Local  government,  248-250. 
Log  rolling,  288. 
Louis  XVI,  of  France,  estimate  of, 

Louisiana  purchase,  55,   142-145, 

156,    170;    constitutionality    of, 

Love,  emotion  of,  among  negroes, 


McCaul,  Alexander,  mentioned,  14. 

McDonald,  Mr.,  offers  iron  mine 
to  Government,  182. 

McDufTie,  speech  on  slavery,  289. 

McPherson,  James,  characteriza 
tion  of,  13. 

Maison  Quanve,  Nismes,  58. 

Man,  imitative  faculty,  27. 

Manufactures,  encouragement  of, 


Maria,  Queen  of  Portugal,  estimate 

of,  196. 

Mariner,  as  a  citizen,  40. 
Maritime  rights,  41. 
Massachusetts,    Shay's    rebellion, 

64;  political  influence  of,  in  1798, 

123-124;  leads  Federalist  party, 

206;  politics  of,  231-232. 
Mays,  Mr.,  Virginian  slave-holder, 

mentioned,  66. 
Medicine,  government  supervision, 

30;  profession  of,  193;  study  of, 

Melish,  John,  "  Travels  through  the 

United  States,"  comment  on,  204. 
Mercantile  marine,  American,  41- 

Merry,  Anthony,  British  envoy  in 

United  States,  estimate  of,  213. 
Mesmer,  Franklin  and,  90. 
Mexico,  incorporation  with  United 

States,  272. 

Minzees,  Ninian,  mentioned,  14. 
Misfortune,  resignation  under,  11. 
Mississippi  River,  abandonment  of 

navigation  to  Spain,  55;  sover 
eignty  over,  72-73,  84,  92,  156- 

Monarchical  tendencies  in  United 

States ;  see  American  politics. 
Monarchies,  Jefferson's  opposition 

to,  70. 
Monopoly,  laws  of,  national  bank 

and,  86. 
Monroe    doctrine,    Jefferson    on, 

233-234,  276-278. 
Montaigne,  criticism  of,  109. 
Montesquieu,     political     theories, 


Morality,  Jefferson  on,  238-242. 
Morals,  European,  45. 
Moreau,  mentioned,  179. 
Morocco  and  United  States,  49. 
Morris,    Gouverneur,    mentioned, 

Martmain,  laws  of,  national  bank 

and,  85. 

Mosaic  faith,  267. 
Moultrie,  W.,  mentioned,  94. 
Music,  French,  44. 

Naples,  kingdom,  and  Barbary 
states,  48. 

Napoleonic  policy,  192. 

National  bank,  160;  constitutional 
ity  of,  85-89. 

Negro  colonization,  25;  citizen 
ship,  26 ;  emotional  faculties,  26, 
27;  mental  faculties,  26;  musical 
faculty,  27. 

Neutrality,  desirability,  115-116. 

New,  Mr.,  mentioned,  123. 

New  Orleans,  strategic  commercial 
position,  142. 

Newspapers,  value  of,  52;  libels, 
122;  abuses  of,  172-173;  conduct 
of,  175-176. 

Newton,  Isaac,  mentioned,  30. 

New  York,  sectarianism  in,  31. 

Nicholas,  W.  C.,  mentioned,  271. 

Nismes,  France,  Maison  Quarree, 

Notes  on  Virginia,  extracts  from; 
revision  of  Virginia  constitution, 
25;  American  genius,  24;  on  re 
ligion,  29-31 ;  new  edition  of,  167. 

Ossian,  estimate  of,  13. 



Paine,  Thomas,  Rights  of  Man,  93; 
attacked  by  "Publicola,"  93. 

Paper  money,  219-226;  induces 
legislative  corruption,  97-98; 
not  a  legal  tender,  126;  issues  of 
1755,  223. 

Paris,  expense  of  living  in,  34; 
women  of,  57;  Hotel  de  Salm,  58. 

Party  politics,  Jefferson  on,  77-78; 
see  also  Antifederalists,  Fed 
eralists,  Republican  party. 

Peace,  war  and,  49. 

Pennsylvania,  sectarianism  in,  31. 

Physical  exercise,  Jefferson  on,  38. 

Pickering,  T.,  mentioned,  218. 

Pinckney,  C.  C.,  candidate  for 
presidency,  112. 

Plato,  mentioned,  151. 

Poetry,  Ossian,  the  greatest  poet, 
14;  American,  24;  negro,  27; 
study  of,  37. 

Politeness,  185. 

Political  consistency,  79-80. 

Political  patronage,  82-83. 

Political  theory,  108-109. 

Population,  homogeneity  of,  de 
pendent  on  territorial  division, 

"Porcupine,"  mentioned,  122. 

Portugal  and  Barbary  states,  48. 

Post-roads,  82. 

Potomac  canal,  69,  78. 

Pnetorian  palace,  Vienna,  59. 

President  of  United  States,  re- 
eligibility  to  office  tends  to 
monarchy,  70;  veto  power,  89; 
Jefferson  inaugurates  custom  of 
presenting  message  in  writing, 
140;  term  of  office,  231,  279. 

Press;  see  Newspapers. 

Priestley,  Dr.  Joseph, "  Socrates  and 
Jesus  Compared,"  mentioned, 

Privateering,  119-120. 

Public  debt,  126,  219-226. 

Public  ownership,  182-183. 

Public  service,  measure  of,  102- 

"Publicola,"  attacks  on  Paine  and 
Jefferson,  93;  John  Adams  ac 
cused  of  being,  94. 

Quakers,  275;  as  slave-holders,  66. 

Randolph,  Peyton,  mentioned,  120, 

Reading,  for  boys,  37,  39. 

Reason  and  religion,  29-30. 

Rebellion,  value  of,  54,  65. 

Reciprocity,  104-107. 

Religion,  149,  266-269,  274-275; 
freedom  of,  29,  170;  and  reason, 
29;  uniformity  of,  30;  sectarian 
ism,  31. 

Republican  party,  111;  minority  in 
Congress,  98;  accessions  to,  in 
third  Congress,  99;  minority  of. 
in  1798,  123;  Jefferson  on,  204- 

Republics,  territorial  division  of, 
108;  theory  of,  254-257. 

Resignation,  11. 

Rice,  culture,  61 ;  trade  in,  76. 

"  Rights  of  Man,"  Paine's,  93. 

Rittenhouse,  David,  estimate  of, 

Rochefoucauld,  criticism  of,  109. 



Rotation   of  crops.   Jefferson   on, 


Royalty,  degeneracy,  195-196. 
Rural  life,  107. 
Rush,  Benjamin,  theory  of  bleeding 

and  of  mercury,  246. 

Screw-propeller,  34-35. 

Sea  power,  American,  41,  49,  75; 
British,  211,  212. 

Secession,  possibility  of,  100,  264- 

Sectarianism,  31. 

Sedgwick,  Theodore,  mentioned, 

Senate  of  United  States,  term  of 
office  too  long,  231. 

Shay's  rebellion,  64. 

Siberian  barley,  experiments  with, 

Sierra  Leone,  colonization  of  slaves 
in,  146-148. 

Simple  life,  Jefferson  on,  52,  67, 

Skipwith,  Mrs.,  mentioned,  33. 

Slavery,  abolition  in  Virginia,  25; 
influence  on  manners,  27 ;  eman 
cipation  of  slaves,  29,  65;  in 
Maryland,  35;  in  Virginia,  35; 
suppression  of,  62;  colonization 
in  Sierra  Leone,  146-148;  coloni 
zation,  258-259;  abolition  of, 
285;  constitutional  amendment, 

Slodtz,  A.,  Diana  of,  58. 

Small,  Dr.  William,  mentioned, 

Smith,  Jonathan  B.,  mentioned,  93. 

Soils,  renewal  of,  121. 

South  Carolina  Yazoo  Company, 

Spain,  and  Barbary  states,  49; 
dispute  with  United  States,  83- 
85;  claims  to  territory  north  of 
31°,  84;  war  with  England,  85; 
control  of  Mississippi  River,  92; 
negotiations  with  United  States 
affected  by  Washington's  retire 
ment,  102;  educational  qualifica 
tions  for  citizenship,  253. 

Spanish-American  colonies,  Ameri 
can  aid  to,  250-252. 

Spanish  language,  value  of  knowl 
edge  of,  39. 

Spoils  system,  269-270. 

State  and  Church,  29. 

State  control ;  see  Civil  jurisdiction. 

State  governments,  American,  best 
in  the  world,  126. 

State  rights,  280,  287-289. 

Study,  courses  of,  246. 

Style,  46. 

Submarine  boats,  177. 

Suffrage,  educational  qualification, 

Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States, 

Tariff,  104-107;  discriminating 
duties,  106;  on  imports,  169. 

Taxation,  constitutional  provision, 
87;  collection  of  taxes  facilitated 
by  national  bank,  88;  and  loans, 

Taylor,  "New  Views  of  the  Con 
stitution,"  mentioned,  277. 

Theocritus,  quoted,  226. 

Theology,  study  of,  246. 



Tobacco,  American  trade  in,  75. 
Torpedoes,  177. 

Tracy,  Nathaniel,  mentioned,  218. 
Trade,  see  Commerce. 
Travel,  pleasure  of,  60. 
Treasury  notes,  issue,  247. 
Treaty-making  power,  154-155. 
Trist,  Mrs.  N.  P.,  mentioned,  33. 
Truthfulness,  37. 

United  States,  sea  power,  41,  49, 
75;  mercantile  marine,  41-42; 
war  with  European  powers,  42, 
73-74;  compared  with  France, 
42-44;  territorial  division,  small 
vs.  large  States,  46-47;  and 
Morocco,  49;  credit  system,  62; 
government  authority  in,  63; 
public  debt,  71,  96-97;  Euro 
pean  interest  in  Constitution  of, 
71 ;  post-roads  in,  82;  finances  of, 
82;  Indian  policy,  94-95;  paper 
money,  97-98 ;  legislative  corrup 
tion,  98;  secession,  99,  100,  264- 
266;  foreign  relations,  118;  with 
France,  142-145,  154,  155;  with 
Great  Britain,  154,  210-214; 
compared  with  Great  Britain, 
242-245 ;  see  also  American  Poli 
tics;  Anglo-American  alliance; 
President  of  United  States;  sen 

ate  of  United  States;  supreme 
court  of  United  States. 

Veto  power,  89. 

Vergennes,  Count  de,  regard  for 

Franklin,  91. 
Victor    Emmanuel     I,     King    of 

Sardinia,  estimate  of,  196. 
Vienna,  Praetorian  palace  in,  59. 
Virginia,  abolition  of  slavery  in,  25 ; 

revision    of    Constitution,     25; 

negro  insurrection,  146;  political 

sympathy  with  Kentucky,  271. 
Voltaire,  quoted,  43. 

Walking,  as  an  exercise,  38. 

War  and  peace,  49;   Jefferson  on, 

117,  122-123. 
Washington,  George,  estimate  of, 

24;  characterization  of,  78,  234- 

238;  retirement  of,  95,  100-101; 

and  Federalism,  207. 
Whately,  Phyllis,  mentioned,  27. 
William  III,  of  Prussia,  estimate  of, 


Wine,  tax  on,  260-261. 
Wolcott,  Oliver,  mentioned,  218. 
Wollaston's  theory  of  morality,  238. 
Women,  European,  45. 
Wythe,  George,  mentioned,  184. 

Yellow  fever,  Jefferson  on,  134. 


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